The Leader of Colchester City Council, Cllr David King, has expressed his support for an open letter sent to the Secretary of State for the Home Department by the City of Sanctuary Local Authority Network Managing Group.

The City of Sanctuary Local Authority Network is a group of over 100 local authorities in the UK committed to welcoming those fleeing war, persecution and seeking sanctuary. The network promotes good practice and seeks better government policies.

The letter highlights the challenges faced by local authorities and calls on the Government to help local government help those most in need, including:

  • Providing local authorities with the data and funding necessary to enable them to fully support refugees and asylum seekers if moved between different locations.
  • Talking to local authorities before they introduce new refugee or resettlement schemes.
  • Ensuring that new arrangements to prevent homelessness are adequately funded.
  • Improving engagement and information sharing between local authorities and the Home Office and its contractors.

Cllr King said: “Managing housing pressure in all its forms is a priority for the council. We are committed to playing our part in welcoming and safeguarding the welfare of our communities, including those seeking sanctuary, but the Government needs to up its game to help us help those most in need.

“We need a more coordinated approach, with better communications and data sharing, and earlier notice to help ensure essential support services can be provided. And we need funding that is sufficient to meet the needs of all residents facing homelessness, at a time when we as a council are already facing a significant budget deficit. We urge the government to work with us and other local authorities to address these challenges.”

The open letter can be read here: Our Local Authority network writes to the Secretaries of State – City of Sanctuary UK