At least two vulnerable families from war-torn Afghanistan are set to be rehoused and resettled in Harborough district

The council leader said they are determined “to do their bit”

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 12:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 12:34 pm
At least two vulnerable families from war-torn Afghanistan are set to be rehoused and resettled in Harborough district over the next few months.

At least two vulnerable families from war-torn Afghanistan are set to be rehoused and resettled in Harborough district over the next few months.

Harborough District Council is ready to rubberstamp the move to bring the Afghan families here at a meeting of the ruling Conservative group’s Cabinet on Monday September 6.

The local authority is already working with major housing associations to secure properties for the traumatised refugees.

Cllr Phil King, who leads Harborough council, said they are determined “to do their bit” as the Government vows to rescue up to 20,000 people fleeing Afghanistan following the Taliban’s dramatic takeover.

“Every council up and down the country is being asked to help and support this critical effort.

“And we are pledging to do our bit to help these people here in Harborough,” Cllr King told the Harborough Mail.

“This issue will go before our Cabinet on September 6.

“We are working on bringing a minimum of two families from Afghanistan here through the Government’s national scheme.

“We are talking to our main housing associations to try to secure properties for these people in their desperate hour of need.

“We will almost certainly find them houses to live in in one of our main towns such as Market Harborough or Lutterworth,” said Cllr King.

“These Afghan families will receive a financial package from the Government and there’s a programme of assimilation, integration and familiarisation.

“They won’t be just dropped in and left here.

“They will be properly supported by dedicated welfare organisations.

“Many of them will already have friends and relatives in the UK – and they’ll obviously help them settle in here.

“There are also self-support networks around England set up to get behind them,” said Cllr King.

“We will do what ever we can to help people coming in from Afghanistan and we’re accelerating our plans now.

“A lot of these brave people worked for our Government and our armed forces during our 20-year stay in Afghanistan.

“They worked as translators and security guards and in administration as well as holding so many other crucial posts.

“We owe these courageous people a duty to support them – just as we respect and back our military veterans too.

“We have a successful record of delivering new homes to people across Harborough over the last few years.

“And I’m sure the vast majority of people in the district will totally support what we are doing to help Afghan families.”

Asked what he thought of the devastating human disaster crushing Afghanistan, Cllr King replied: “It’s a massive tragedy, a huge humanitarian crisis.

“We have to look at the abject international failure of various policies and strategy.

“There are some seriously big questions that our Government has to answer.

“There are many people here in Harborough who have served in our armed forces – and some have made the ultimate sacrifice.

“They will be wondering what is happening out there after we’ve been there for the last two decades.

“We do have to urgently try to understand what’s gone on here,” said the Conservative council chief.

“The current terrible situation in Afghanistan is avoidable.

“But we’ve needed much better leadership from the US as well as from our other NATO allies and I feel very sorry for the people of Afghanistan.”