Opposition leader: “We can take in 50 refugee families in Northampton”

Labour group leader Councillor Danielle Stone says Northampton can take in 50 Syrian refugee families over the next four years.

Labour group leader Councillor Danielle Stone says Northampton can take in 50 Syrian refugee families over the next four years.

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Northampton should take in 50 Syrian refugee families over the next four years opposition group members will argue at the next full borough council meeting.

As the current migrant crisis at Calais and borders around Europe deepens, local authorities across the UK have been pledging to take a share of Syrian refugees.

Councils are being given funding by the Government to do so as part of the national pledge to take on 20,000 of the asylum seekers by 2020.

Back in September, leader of Northampton Borough Council, Councillor Mary Markham (Con, Park) said the authority would also be willing to play its part in re-settling Syrian refugees.

However the exact number the county receives, which will be dictated by Northamptonshire County Council, has not yet been decided.

At next Monday’s full borough council meeting, Labour group leader Councillor Danielle Stone (Lab, Castle) will propose Northampton houses 50 families over the next four years.

She said: “In the East Midlands, Nottingham has already taken on 18 families and is preparing to take on a second wave. I think it is time we started making a contribution and I think 50 families is a very modest number.

“The money from the Government is quite generous and families will receive all the support they need to find accommodation, school places, medical care and access to training and employment.”

However with space at a premium in Northampton town centre and a shortage of social houses on the market, critics have argued there is no room for the migrants.

But Councillor Stone believes several people in Northampton would volunteer to house families in their own homes.

She said: “What we know from fielding these ideas in the community is that many people are willing to take families into their own homes.

“I think there is enough goodwill in the town - especially from the faith communities - to make sure these people are treated with respect and looked after.”

Labour will propose that Northampton pledges to take five families in year one, 10 in year two, 15 in year three and 20 in year four.

The full council meeting will take place at the Guildhall on Monday, March 7, at 6.30pm.