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Jenny calls on the UK Government to support refugees

I recently asked the First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM, whether the UK government will provide funds to ensure refugees in Cardiff get the health and education services they need.

I spoke in the Senedd to pay tribute to the generous response from people across Wales to pictures of thousands of refugees on the move across Europe.  I said we want to give them the warmest possible welcome on arrival in the UK.

We have nothing to fear from refugees. Some of the most talented people in this country originally came as refugees after, during or before the Second World War.

Responding, the First Minister said: "Short of the declaration that the UK government will provide a sum of money to assist refugees- nothing. We don't know whether that money is to assist those already in refugee camps, in Lebanon in particular, where one in four of the population of Lebanon is in a refugee camp now.

"We saw the Prime Minister visiting these camps yesterday; he didn't make it clear. Is the money there to pay for people to stay in those camps, or is the money there, in whole or in part, to help to resettle people in the UK? The UK Government has not been swift in the response that it has offered to the crisis"

The number of refugees worldwide now exceeds 50 million for the first time since the Second World War, and the UK Government has faced criticism for not taking its fair share of refugees compared to other countries.

The main refugee reception centre in Wales is in Cardiff Central. The UK Government pays for hostel or private rented accommodation to keep a roof over asylum seekers heads, but makes no contribution to health services or schools.

I added that I hope the mental and physical health needs of destitute people fleeing war zones as well as the services needed to integrate both adults and children into our communities will be discussed at the summit on the refugee crisis called by the First Minister, and that the UK Government will now respond as generously as ordinary people have done.

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Jenny Rathbone | Assembly Member for Cardiff Central

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