The Government has come under fire for failing Syrian refugees offered sanctuary in Cambridge.
Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, wrote to Home Secretary Amber Rudd in August 2017, on behalf of the Cambridge City Council to ask for support in helping Syrian refugee families that had been accepted to the UK under the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement scheme to reunify in Cambridge.
The letter asked the Home Office to provide support in funding the moves of some Syrian refugees from other areas of the UK to Cambridge, so that they can be reunited with their families who have been settled in the city. Two Syrian families are currently split between Sheffield and Cambridge, and the Council wants to help them get back together.
When, in November, Mr Zeichner had not had any reply to his letter, he followed up with a second. This again went unanswered.
Mr Zeichner finally received a reply on the 29th of March, seven months after his original contact , only to be told: "There is not an exceptional fund to facilitate the voluntary movement of refugees from one local authority to another".
Mr Zeichner says: "It’s completely unacceptable that the Home Office took more than half a year to respond to a simple question, and then offered such a poor response. You can't help but conclude that the Government don’t want to work with MPs and Local Authorities, but against them."
Cllr Lewis Herbert says "All a Syrian family in Cambridge wanted was to be reunited with their relatives in Sheffield who were being helped under the same refugee assistance scheme. Instead of helping, the Home Office has blocked this, while taking over half a year to respond, which was unfair on everyone. Our experience has shown that re-uniting families helps them to settle in and integrate more quickly, and also provides good support for each other including in finding work."
"People in Cambridge want to do much more to help Syrian refugees fleeing bombing by the Assad regime. What they, and the council, needs is a Government that reunites families and provides the support needed to give refugees real hope for the future."