Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about refugee resettlement in the UK.
As you know, the resettlement of refugees in the UK was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. I appreciate that other countries have now resumed their refugee resettlement schemes, having also suspended them earlier this year due to coronavirus. The Government has said that refugee resettlement schemes will resume “as soon as conditions allow”. I hope the Government will provide more clarity on this as soon as possible.
The Government has said it will consolidate existing resettlement schemes into a new global resettlement scheme next year, with a target of resettling 5,000 refugees in its first year. I hope the Government will also provide more details on this scheme and its longer-term targets.
We know that a lack of safe routes leads to more people risking their lives by making dangerous journeys. Unfortunately, I think the Government’s approach has been lacking in compassion and a meaningful strategy. For example, I believe the Government’s closure of the Dubs scheme – after taking only a tenth of the expected 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees – was a profound error.
More generally, we know that one of the key drivers of people fleeing their homes to seek sanctuary elsewhere is the impact of poverty, wars and persecution. I believe it is therefore deeply regrettable that the Government has taken the decision to abolish the Department for International Development.