Leaders in row over refugees in Sheffield

Nick Clegg and Julie Dore montage outside the Sheffield Town Hall
Nick Clegg and Julie Dore montage outside the Sheffield Town Hall
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Sheffield’s council leader and the Deputy Prime Minister have clashed over the city’s treatment of Syrian refugees.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has accused Coun Julie Dore of refusing to help some of the world’s most vulnerable women and children – while the Labour council leader has branded Mr Clegg’s claims ‘appalling’.

Mr Clegg, Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam, spoke out after councils nationwide were asked to support a government scheme to rehome Syrian refugees.

Sheffield was asked to resettle a ‘small number’ of refugees from the country.

The scheme is funded for a year, but Sheffield taxpayers would have to pay for the refugees’ education, social care and health care for the next four years in which they would have leave to remain.

Coun Dore is said to have contacted the Home Office to put support for the scheme on hold.

Mr Clegg said: “It came as a shock and disappointment that the council leader has decided to shut the door on some of the most vulnerable people in the world.

“I’m proud of Sheffield’s standing as a City of Sanctuary, but concerned local Labour councillors are tarnishing that reputation.”

But Coun Dore said the hold-up was because she has asked the government for funding beyond the first year.

She said: “The Syrian programme will focus on the most vulnerable refugees who will require a lot of support well beyond the first 12 months. This is why Sheffield is asking the government to extend the funding. We asked the government a month ago to consider this, but have not yet had a reply.

“Sheffield has been a City of Sanctuary for many years and we want this to continue.

“Mr Clegg’s intervention is unhelpful and it is appalling he has used this issue to try to score political points.”