Tory councils are refusing to take their share of asylum-seekers – Theresa May should act

Over half of asylum-seekers are in the poorest third of council areas

 

When the government closed the ‘Dubs’ route for child refugees into the UK, they said it was because local authorities couldn’t accommodate any more than 400 unaccompanied children — a tiny fraction of the 3,000 initially mooted by Lord Alf Dubs.

On those grounds, the Conservatives voted, with just three exceptions, against a cross-party amendment that would have required councils to identify their capacity to house child refugees.

So how does that square that with revelations in today’s Guardian that overall, Conservative-led councils in Britain are accommodating just 1,560 asylum-seekers, compared to 34,936 in Labour-led council areas?

Theresa May’s own constituency of Maidenhead currently hosts just four refugees, while Philip Hammond’s has welcomed only two.

The burden has disproportionately fallen on poor councils in the north and in Scotland. The poorest third of councils are accommodating 57 per cent of asylum-seekers, while the the richest third have welcomed just 10 per cent.

This reflects a toxic relationship between the Conservative central government and Conservative-led councils, with local and national politicians using each other’s attitudes to justify their own recalcitrance.

If May is serious about meeting Britain’s existing pledges — which are strikingly unambitious — she should start by applying pressure within her own party.

See: Over 200 migrants feared drowned off Libya – as 2017 promises to be even deadlier than 2016

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