Walsall Council like many local authorities across the country will continue to support the government’s Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy and in the wake of the recent escalation of violence in Afghanistan - it will do so as a matter of urgency. Since Walsall Cabinet had approved the relocation of 80 individuals earlier in July, the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan has escalated. Walsall Cabinet will also be discussing suggested plans to support forty more individuals over coming weeks.
Councillor Mike Bird Leader of Walsall Council Leader said:
“You have only to turn on the news or your phone, to see the scale of the crisis in Afghanistan and how quickly violence has escalated. In the light of this rapidly changing situation, Walsall Council is recommending that we support a further forty men, women and children on top of the 80 people we had already pledged to help earlier. Put simply this is the right thing to.”
“Since August and until flights from Kabul were suspended - we have already helped 69 people through the government’s Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy. Walsall Council and the wider borough has mobilised at speed and whilst it has recently welcomed 15 families to the borough, the urgency of the current situation must means that we - along with other local authorities across the land, must do everything we can to help. These people have played a vital part in supporting the British Army’s operations in Afghanistan with interpretation and translation skills and we will do all that we can to support them.”
“Notes to editors
- Please also see information from Home Office Fact sheet https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2021/08/16/factsheet-uk-support-to-resettle-afghan-nationals/
- The UK Afghan Locally Employed Staff (LES) Relocation scheme has been in place since 2013 and its aim is to safely relocate Afghan nationals (and their families) who have assisted our armed forces to the United Kingdom.
- Many local authorities, particularly in the West Midlands, have pledged support to the Scheme. See link to Walsall Council Cabinet report: Item 9 http://cmispublic.walsall.gov.uk/cmis/Meetings/tabid/70/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/397/Meeting/3346/Committee/434/Default.aspx
- The scheme, which is funded by central government is facilitated by local authorities to source properties, make them ready, and support the Afghan families on arrival.
- Walsall Council and its partners have already housed 15 Afghan families (69 individuals) through the ARAP scheme.
- Due to the scale of the crisis in Afghanistan, Walsall Council is considering increasing its pledge to help up to 120 Afghan individuals overall, (approx. 27 families will be helped/with properties provided.)
- All families will receive a full package of integration support with pledges of assistance from local people and both local and national organisations.
- Central government offers a financial package of support for up to the first 12 months following arrival of the families, to include locating and furnishing properties, rental payments, and integration support.