Only one refugee resettled in West Northamptonshire in last seven years, exclusive analysis reveals

Figure comes as area prepares to welcome 140 Afghan refugees this week

By Jack Duggan
Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 5:15 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 9:46 am

West Northamptonshire councils have only resettled one refugee in the last seven years, exclusive analysis has revealed as the area prepares to welcome 140 Afghans.

Daventry and South Northamptonshire councils did not rehome a single refugee between 2014 and when they were abolished in March this year.

While Northampton Borough Council took on one refugee in that time as part of the government's resettlement schemes, a study by sister publication NationalWorld has found.

Sign up to our daily Daventry Express Today newsletter

West Northamptonshire councils have only resettled one refugee in the last seven years, exclusive analysis has revealed. Photo: Shutterstock

This puts Northampton joint-last for the number of refugees resettled among English councils, not including those who have rehomed none.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) called on all UK councils to help support refugees during the crisis in response to national figures showing a disparity between Labour and Conservative-held councils for the number of resettlements.

UNHCR UK spokesperson Matthew Saltmarsh said: “It’s been really heartening to see the groundswell of support across UK society for the Afghans in light of recent events.

“We would encourage local authorities right across the country to help as best they can with an urgent global problem by extending a welcome to refugees, in support of government efforts, by offering them the best chance possible to rebuild their lives in a new community.”

Home Office data shows one refugee was resettled under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Schemes and the UK Resettlement Scheme by West Northamptonshire councils from 2014 to June 2021.

It does not include anyone who arrived in the UK and then sought asylum.

In 2016, Northamptonshire County Council told the government it could not resettle any Syrian refugees because of its financial situation and pressure on public services.

It was unlikely the district and borough councils would take on refugees without the support of the county council, this newspaper reported at the time.

East Northamptonshire Council was the only other local authority to rehome any refugees between 2014 and 2021, with five - joint-fourth-last in the English council league table.

The new unitary authority, West Northamptonshire Council, has secured funding from a Home Office resettlement scheme to provide 140 refugees with emergency accommodation while their needs are assessed and they are due to arrive by the end of the week.

The UK is preparing to take thousands of Afghan refugees over the coming years following the Taliban’s rapid takeover of the country and the ensuing surge of citizens desperate to escape .

North and West Northamptonshire councils declined to comment on the figures and the Home Office did not respond to a request for comment by NationalWorld.