Helen Cross - Parliamentary Spokesperson
What is happening in Afghanistan is heartbreaking to watch. The situation is quickly deteriorating and it is very difficult to comprehend the scale of the suffering and despair which ordinary Afghans are experiencing. We are watching a humanitarian crisis unfold as hundreds of thousands flee their homes. Many members of our own communities across Hounslow have cherished family and friends in Afghanistan and they are concerned for their safety. Our thoughts are with them at this time.
Hounslow Liberal Democrats welcome the Council’s announcement that it will play its part in providing sanctuary to Afghan migrants fleeing from the Taliban. It is vital that it works with partners, statutory bodies and private housing providers to ensure that those seeking refuge are welcomed to the borough, provided with a safe home and given help with the little things in life that will make a huge difference - registering with a GP, setting up a bank account.
However, this Government must provide emergency funds so that local authorities can provide a safe place for these vulnerable people who will need to rebuild their lives. The UK Government’s humanitarian response is too narrow and nowhere near ambitious enough. The pledge from the Home Secretary that the UK takes 5,000 Afghan refugees in the first year of the new Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme is too few and unjustifiable slow. We can not abandon those fleeing the Taliban, particularly those who have stood by our armed forces and vulnerable groups such as women, children and the LGBTQ community.
London has a proud history of offering sanctuary to those seeking refuge. Over the last week, ordinary people across the borough have stepped up and offered their support and solidarity. As a community, we can proudly say refugees are welcome.