Calderdale 'should keep putting pressure on Government' to take in more Afghan families

Calderdale Council should keep putting pressure on the Government to take in more Afghan families, says a councillor.

Sunday, 17th October 2021, 10:00 am

Coun Audrey Smith (Lab, Sowerby Bridge) said she was proud Calderdale was one of the third in England which had taken in Afghan families following the withdrawal of British troops from the country.

But it was only two families in Calderdale and as a country more should be done – the target of 15,000 refugees from the country in the first year was not enough, she said.

Referencing the sports stadium in Halifax, she said: “That’s half of the Shay.

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Coun Audrey Smith (Lab, Sowerby Bridge)

“That’s a very small number of people we’re asking to offer protection to.

“The situation in Afghanistan is in part of our making and they will come here because we were there,” she said.

Referring to comments made recently, Coun Smith, speaking in the questions to Cabinet members section of the full meeting of Calderdale Council, said the borough’s community did not bow to scaremongering about those seeking asylum.

“Some people seem to be misinformed.

“Refugees are more likely to be the victims of crime rather than the perpetrators and it’s very important councillors should be aware of that when making comments.

“How do Calderdale offer more support to families and to keep the pressure upon Government to go further and faster with getting people from Afghanistan into safety?

“What are we doing to make sure refugees are safe in Calderdale?” she said.

Cabinet member for Public Services and Communities, Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) said it was an important question as to how the council lived up to its position as a Valley of Sanctuary – part of the national City of Sanctuary movement pledging to offer a safe from war and persecution.

“I’m very proud of the fact that Calderdale has for very many years supported people who have sought sanctuary here, who have been forced to flee their countries because of war and other reasons.

“As far as this council is concerned we have got an honourable record of trying to do our best to support people who come here to seek sanctuary and I am sure we will continue to do so,” she said.

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