The UK is the second biggest bilateral donor of humanitarian aid to Syria, having already pledged £1 billion as well as some £60 million additional funding to help those still in the country.
Since the crisis began nearly 5000 Syrians and their dependents have been granted asylum through normal procedures, and the Vulnerable Persons Relocations scheme is already up and running, with hundreds of the most vulnerable Syrians welcomed into the country for protection and support.
The Prime Minister has proposed that Britain should resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years. These refugees will come straight from the camps in the Middle East to discourage refugees from taking the journey across the Mediterranean.
I understand some people would like the UK to take more, yet there is no consensus on how many. There are over 9 million refugees who have fled their homes in Syria and arguably problems are just as serious for the people living in parts of Iraq- shouldn’t they also be included?
The numbers far exceed Europe’s capacity to assimilate and are further compounded once economic migrants are added into the mix. I have long argued that open borders are incompatible with the welfare state, and recent EU figures have shown that the majority of those coming to Europe are economic migrants from other, more stable nations. So where do we draw the line?
In Wycombe, many families are waiting to be given homes that simply are not available. Many reside in Bed & Breakfasts; entire families sharing just one room. It seems that moral signalling and wishful thinking are trying to guide government policy without taking into account the political realities of the situation here in the UK.
It is clear to see that simply taking people is not going to solve this problem. A comprehensive solution must be found that deals with the reasons for displacement ranging from ISIL to the criminal trafficking gangs exploiting the vulnerable. In the meantime, I believe the correct balance has been struck by the Government between providing protection for those who need it most whilst providing extensive aid where it is most beneficial.