WITH the news that Medway Council Leader, Councillor Alan Jarrett, has today revealed that Medway will not be taking in any Syrian refugees Medway Labour group is calling on him to take a more proactive role in providing assistance.
Speaking on BBC Radio Kent Councillor Jarrett announced that “Medway is not able to house refugees” but at a council meeting in October the council agreed that they would do all that they could to help those in need and would, as a result, write to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to ask what financial support the council would receive for taking in refugees.
Councillor Vince Maple, Medway Labour group leader, who seconded the council motion in October, was concerned by Councillor Jarrett’s announcement: “In October the council agreed that we would support and house refugees provided that we received funding from central government. Ever since we saw the dreadful images of refugees fleeing war torn Syria councillors like myself have been overwhelmed by the level of support and solidarity that has been shown by the people of Medway.
“The people of Medway have shown that they do not want to turn their backs on people in such desperate need and Councillor Jarrett must recognise the opinion of the public.
“I am in full agreement with Councillor Jarrett when he says that we must receive funding from central government – we don’t want local front line services suffer at the expense of support for Syrian refugees so I accept that we are in a difficult position if the government are not providing funding.
“But the question I would ask Councillor Jarrett is what exactly is he doing about this? What action has he taken to seek the necessary funding? The people of Medway have been way ahead of the council and councillors in their solidarity with the Syrian refugees. What the people of Medway need is for the leader of the council to be proactive and what they’ve got is the leader of the council sitting on his hands. Frankly, it’s not good enough.”