Budget must include refugee commitment as resettlement plummets
The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Chancellor to fund an “ambitious, 10-year commitment” to resettle vulnerable refugees from conflict areas in his Budget next week, as new official figures show the number brought to the UK plummeted by 85% in 2020.
The Home Office’s latest Immigration Statistics*, published yesterday, show that just 823 refugees were resettled in the UK in 2020 – compared to 5,612 in 2019 – after the Government suspended the UK’s resettlement schemes in March and has not reopened them.
Meanwhile, the number of people granted asylum in the UK fell by 40%, from 12,561 in 2019 to 7,546 in 2020. The number of children granted asylum is also down by 48% from 3,846 to 1,988.
Responding to the figures, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:
“We must do all we can to protect people forced to flee their homes to escape war and persecution.
“The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need, but now the Conservative Government is turning its back on refugees.
“The Chancellor must use his Budget next week to set out an ambitious, ten-year commitment to resettle vulnerable refugees from Syria and other dangerous conflict areas.
“This is not only vital to uphold our duty to help the world’s most vulnerable, but it is also the best way to combat people smuggling and human trafficking and prevent people from making dangerous attempts to cross the Channel.”
*The Immigration statistics are available here. Data on asylum grants and resettlement are in table Asy D02.
The Spending Review in November included £526 million for the asylum system and refugee resettlement in 2021-22, £460 million of which will come from the reduced international aid budget. However, the Government has still not provided any details of the new Global Resettlement Scheme that was originally due to launch last year.