The leader of Colchester City Council, Cllr David King, today thanked the many volunteers and officials who have been helping Afghan refugees in Colchester.

The Government gave families three months’ notice in April to move out of temporary hotel accommodation. The Afghan families had been welcomed to Colchester after they had to flee their country following the collapse of the western-supported government and the Taliban takeover.

Cllr David King, Leader of Colchester City Council, said: “We owe a debt of gratitude to the Afghan people who supported and served with British forces against the Taliban. They put their lives on the line to help us, and it is right we should do everything we can to help them rebuild their lives.

“I am grateful for their service to this country and to those who have worked tirelessly to support them since arrival. We are proud to be a City of Sanctuary and together to have helped provide them with a safe and secure place to stay until, as now, they move on. Some will stay in Colchester, and some in temporary accommodation as they have been made homeless, but many have already left to find homes across the UK.

“We know that this is a difficult time for them, and we wish them all the best for the future. We hope that they will be able to find a permanent home where they can start to rebuild their lives.”

Cllr King called again on the Government to do more to help the Council with other refugees as well as asylum seekers, adding: “They have already been through so much, and they deserve to be treated with compassion and respect.

“We need to see a reform of the UK’s asylum system. Asylum seekers should not be placed in expensive and often unsuitable hotels for such long periods of time. They should not have to wait years for their claims to be processed. They should be able to know their status and, leave or stay, be able to start rebuilding their lives as soon as possible.”