Campaigners call for u-turn on decision not to take Syrian refugees in Northampton

Picture shows refugee children in a temporary camp, courtesy of Children on the Edge
Picture shows refugee children in a temporary camp, courtesy of Children on the Edge
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Opposition councillors outraged that Northampton will not take Syrian refugees have launched an online petition.

Leader of the Labour group on Northampton Borough Council, Councillor Danielle Stone, wants the borough and the county council to rethink their decision not to take refugees.

Last month the borough council voted not to find a home for refugees from Syria amid heckling from members of the public telling them to “hang their heads in shame”.

Councillor Stone said the Northampton Town of Sanctuary campaign group has now launched an online petition and is urging all Northampton residents to add their name.

She said: “said: “I was very disappointed when the Borough Council declined to support Syrian refugees.

“They used the pathetic excuse that they couldn’t because their colleagues at County Hall had also declined to offer help. We just wanted the Borough Council and County Council to take part in Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme.

“Since the motion to offer help to 50 Syrian families was rejected, the ‘Northampton Town of Sanctuary’ campaign group has been very busy. We have received much support from the general public on this issue and they want us to carry on putting pressure on the local authorities to take part.

“So we have launched an online petition and hope people will add their name,” Councillor Stone added.

Speaking at the borough council meeting where the decision was taken not take any Syrian refugees, Councillor Mary Markham, said: “Yes we have housing and the private rented sector might come forward to help house some of these people - but we have 3,700 people on our social housing waiting list as it is.

“The county council has made it clear that with their multi-million pound deficit they don’t have the money to support these people.”

The link to the petition is https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/calling-on-northampton-borough-council-to-offer-sanctuary-to-50-syrian-refugee-families.html