Westminster’s Labour Councillors have called on the City Council to lead and coordinate a humanitarian campaign to enable Westminster to take its fair share of refugees to help them escape from the current human misery being suffered by so many in the Mediterranean and across Europe, the scale of which has not been seen since World War 2.
Councillors say that the Council should work with major Westminster businesses and landowners, the Westminster Property Association, foreign investors and the voluntary sector to coordinate a response. This could involve finding ways to make available some of Westminster’s 1,550 empty private properties to refugee families fleeing from war torn countries in the Middle East and supporting residents in Westminster who want to help refugee families and are looking to the Council for a lead so that individuals can contribute in practical ways. The Council should use its wide ranging networks in Westminster and across London.
Labour’s Shadow Home Sectary Yvette Cooper MP has called on London boroughs to take in at least 10 refugee families, while a range of local authorities are calling for a coordinated response to take in at least 50 individual refugees. As one of the UK’s wealthiest local authorities Westminster should see such targets as a bare minimum and aim to do much more.
Labour Group leader Councillor Adam Hug said;
“The lack of action by the UK Government in responding to the refugee crisis is a matter of national shame and Westminster Council should be actively lobbying for it to change its approach. In the absence of national leadership though the duty falls then for Westminster Council and other local authorities to coordinate a response from the many local people and institutions in the private, voluntary and public sectors who want to help tackle this humanitarian catastrophe.”