Brent Council leader commits to resettle 50 Syrian refugees by 2020

Cllr Muhammed Butt has committed to resettling Syrian refugees

Cllr Muhammed Butt has committed to resettling Syrian refugees - Credit: Archant

Brent Council has committed to resettle 50 vulnerable Syrian refugees, fleeing from persecution in the Middle East.

Members of Brent Action for Refugees (BAR) and Brent Citizens (Citizens UK), held a meeting at the Brent Civic Centre with Cllr Muhammed Butt, the leader of Brent Council, who agreed to resettle 50 refugees into the borough by the year 2020.

The UK Government has renewed calls on local authorities to sign up to the government funded Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme (VPRS).

According to Citizens UK local authorities in London have so far failed to take their fair share of refugees, with less than 60 people resettled across all London boroughs.

Rev Maggie Hindley, a BAR volunteer and minister at St Andrews URC, who led the negotiations said: “I am proud of Brent’s leader for making this generous undertaking. We in Brent Action for Refugees will do everything we can to help welcome the refugees as they arrive, and to support them as they adjust to life in Brent.”

Oscar Watkins, BAR chairman, said: “We love Brent because it is diverse and welcoming. I grew up in Brent and I know that members of my community often struggle to get by. That’s why we set out to make sure that local businesses and private landlords take responsibility for supporting these families with houses, so that local people don’t have to worry.“

In April BAR led a successful campaign to secure private properties for vulnerable Syrian refugees where residents committed more than 20 properties for 12 months as a charitable offering.

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One landlord offering their home to refugee families, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “The council cannot welcome refugees on their own. Businesses and private landlords must not shirk their responsibility to help in this time of need. I am offering my property to refugees because whoever saves a single human life, saves an entire universe.”

Cllr Butt, said: “Brent is proud to be one of the most culturally diverse boroughs in the UK and we simply cannot stand by without doing our bit. We have a long history and proven ability to welcome different cultures and support their integration and this puts us in a great position to help refugee families now.

“As such, we have offered a safe haven for at least 50 Syrian refugee families and we have been working with the local community to see how this can be achieved in practical terms.”

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