Only someone with a heart of stone would not be moved by the plight of the refugees from the Syrian and other wars. We all want to help. My constituency of Newport West has a heroic record of welcoming and assimilating people from other lands for the past 200 years. Again we will do our share. But the Government must play its part in fully funding the additional burdens that the 20,000 will put on greatly strained local services. Because only the most deserving will be selected the demands on the NHS and schools will be exceptional. The PM and Home Secretary should ensure that their constituencies lead by examples.
Below letter sent to the PM and oral replies by the PM and Home Secretary.
The Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
23 September 2015
Many thanks for your letter to me on the 20th of July.
However, it was disappointing that you have not given any undertaking to arrange a more equitable dispersal of asylum seekers throughout the United Kingdom.
I fully support your decision to allow the most deserving refugees to be invited into this country from Syria and its borders. Unfortunately this does present additional difficulties. Those who are most deserving will be the ones who have serious health and other problems. I understand that the assistance given to local authorities will be limited possibly to a period as brief a year. Those admitted may well need the services of the health service for their entire lives, depending on the severity of their conditions.
I was disappointed in the oral answer that you gave me, when I asked a fortnight ago how many of the 20,000 were expected to be located in your constituency. The answer I received from the Home Secretary was equally disappointing. If the distribution throughout the United Kingdom is as grossly unfair as the present situation, this will impose an intolerable and unfair burden on authorities such as Newport. For as you know, there are 459 asylum seekers in Newport, 600 in Cardiff, and none in your constituency.
Newport has been the enthusiastic, resourceful and successful host to refugees recently. It would be an imposition to take advantage of our generosity in disproportionally allocating an excessive amount of Syrian asylum seekers here.
I look forward to hearing your decision that the additional strains and burdens on the health and education services will be shared equally among all areas of the United Kingdom, including your constituency.
7th September House of Commons,
Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab): Does the Prime Minister agree that there are great advantages to both local communities and refugees if they are located evenly and proportionately throughout the kingdom? Does he know that in the fine city of Newport, we successfully host 459 asylum seekers and Cardiff has more than 900, but the constituency of the Chancellor has only two, the Home Secretary has only five and the Prime Minister has none? How many of the 20,000 will be located to his constituency?
The Prime Minister: That will be for the discussions chaired by the Home Secretary and the Communities Secretary. We want to make sure that the whole country can come together to welcome these people.
16th September House of Commons.
Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab): Would the Home Secretary’s message of welcome to refugees not be strengthened if she led by example? There are 459 asylum seekers in Newport; 900 in Cardiff; seven in the Home Secretary’s constituency; two in the Chancellor’s; and none in the Prime Minister’s. As there are great advantages to refugees and communities in spreading the refugees evenly throughout the country, will she tell us how many of the 20,000 she expects to welcome to her constituency?
Mrs May: The hon. Gentleman talks about how the dispersal of asylum seekers takes place across the country, but we are of course operating on the basis of the rules that were introduced by a previous Labour Government. We are looking at all the offers from local authorities and, indeed, from others. As I said earlier, we will ensure that need is met, so that when people come here, their need can be met through the accommodation and support they are able to receive