North Norfolk to accept some Afghan refugees

Kate Travers explains why Afghanistan is one of the most challenging places to be a woman.

Afghan refugees arriving in Europe. North Norfolk could also soon host some people who have fled the Taliban.  - Credit: AP

Afghan refugees could soon be housed in north Norfolk. 

Sarah Bütikofer, leader of North Norfolk District Council, said the authority was hoping to help some of the thousands of people who have fled Afghanistan due to the takeover of the oppressive Taliban regime last month. 

Sarah Butikofer, leader of North Norfolk District Council. Photo: Sarah Butikofer

Sarah Butikofer, leader of North Norfolk District Council, said she was keen to help some Afghan refugees. - Credit: Archant

Mrs Bütikofer said the details were still being finalised, but the goal was not to impact north Norfolk's existing social housing.

She said: "The [NNDC] chief executive and I spoke to Norfolk County Council in July - we said we would like to help some of the interpreters.

"We'd had some housing offered to us that was suitable but wouldn't affect our housing provision for local residents, because obviously, social housing is at a premium in north Norfolk and you have to balance everything out. 

"But we are determined to play our part, and we are hoping to confirm that we will have some refugees joining us soon."

Dominic Raab, foreign secretary, said around 17,000 Afghans had been evacuated since the start of April, including around 8,000 interpreters and others who worked for the UK, under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP).

In addition to the 8,000 covered by the ARAP, the government has said it would aim to resettle a total of 20,000 people, predominately women and children, under a Afghan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme.

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Mrs Bütikofer added: "Norfolk has a long history of welcoming refugees. We are trying to make sure our local people are not disadvantaged at all by the offer being made, but at the same time we can't sit by and do nothing."

Graham Jones said the issue was discussed a recent meeting of the North Norfolk Labour Party, which he is treasurer of. Mr Jones said NNDC should be doing more to help.

Graham Jones, Green candidate for Trunch in the 2019 North Norfolk District Council election. Pictur

Graham Jones from the north Norfolk branch of the Labour party, which has called on the district council to do more to help refugees. - Credit: Supplied by Graham Jones

He said: "It was decided to recommend to the district council that they make arrangements to accommodate at least 20 refugees as soon as possible.

"[The committee] also requested that the district council carry out an immediate survey with local military, mental health and other bodies to assess the impact of recent events on local veterans and consider what their current needs are."