The Star (May 23) reports that Sheffield is to take 75 Syrian refugees each year for the next five years, and the support provided will be directly funded by government, which, under pressure from the European Union, has committed to taking 20,000 Syrians by 2020.
This is worthy of comment.
At the present time many voters are complaining about the austerity programme imposed because the government claims it is necessary to deal with the country’s financial difficulties.
Yet the Government sees fit to spend what must be about £200 million on food and accommodation on this rescue mission.
Secondly, the accommodation will have to be found in Sheffield.
If these refugees are found council housing, it will make it more difficult for Sheffielders to move up the housing list.
Is this fair?
If they are to be sent to accommodation in renovated or converted use buildings, Sheffielders won’t be able to move into them, either.
If they are sent to bed and breakfasts or to hotels, is the Government likely to pay the additional costs over self-catering?
Thirdly, what about the effects on schools and the health service?
Is the Government really going to pay for additional places, teachers, and medical staff?
Coun Jayne Dunn takes it upon herself to claim Sheffield is a welcoming city.
I don’t think Sheffielders have ever been asked if they want to be welcoming, or if they like the city title of “City of Sanctuary”.
Now, aren’t the council repeatedly bemoaning the Government’s austerity cuts for causing them to reduce front-line services?
Yet the council has volunteered to take in the Syrians.
It was not compulsory.
Since it seems that accepting these refugees will have a cost, either materially or financially, some Sheffielders will object to it.