At a major event today (Tuesday 13th October) organised by Citizens UK, Chair of the Refugee Taskforce, Yvette Cooper MP will say the Government’s response to the current refugee crisis has been “far too weak”.
She will say the Government was forced into action by the huge outpouring of sympathy from the British, but are now failing to deliver even on the unambitious target of allowing 4,000 Syrian refugees to come to Britain each year.
She will say we must go further and faster in our response to the biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.
She will launch a ‘Crisis Action Plan’, which she will call on the Government to implement before the end of the month:
1) The Government must immediately remove refugees from their net migration target. This is acting as a barrier to Britain doing its bit to support those fleeing conflict and persecution.
2) The Government must immediately publish details of how many refugees have come to Britain in the month since the Prime Minister announced that we would accept 4,000 each year. The public is losing trust in the Government’s ability – and willingness – to play its part in solving this crisis. Only through full transparency can we hold the Government to account on the delivery of its pledge
3) David Cameron must end his opposition to helping refugees already in Europe. Governments across the continent are struggling to cope with the number of people arriving each week. Thousands of people are staying in makeshift camps, with little or no access to basic services. As winter closes in, there will start to be desperate scenes. We cannot stand aside and ignore the suffering on our doorstep
4) The Government should work with local authorities to take in more refugees as quickly as possible. She will say the Government should bring together local leaders as soon as possible and will say if every area took just 10 refugee families, we could take 10,000 refugees this year
Yvette Cooper will say:
“The refugee crisis is getting worse not better, but the British Government’s response is still far too weak. Winter is looming and far more needs to be done to help thousands of vulnerable families who have no home to go to and who fall prey to smuggling gangs.
Across the country people are joining the call for Britain to do more. Faith groups, community organisations, charities, councils, landlords, lawyers, businesses, universities are all calling for more action. Citizens UK and other organisations have shown the powerful demand for action from people in every corner of our country.
Yet so far the British Government has taken very few Syrian refugees and won't tell us how many have arrived. They need to tell us immediately how many have come, and how many are due each month. Currently the Government is way off track to meet the Prime Minister's pledge of helping 4,000 a year, and is still doing far less than other European countries to help.
“And we need immediate action to help not just those in the Syrian camps, but some of those who have made it to Europe too. If every county and city took ten families we could help 10,000 people over the next year alone. As Governments across Europe struggle to cope and the weather gets colder, it is no longer an option for the Prime Minister to turn his back and pretend this isn’t our problem. We have to act. We cannot stand on the sidelines while children freeze to death on our doorstep. This is now the biggest humanitarian crisis to reach Europe since the Second World War, and every European nation needs to do its bit to help.”