Debates between Lord Bishop of Derby and Baroness Neville-Rolfe during the 2019 Parliament

Afghan Resettlement Update

Debate between Lord Bishop of Derby and Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Thursday 30th March 2023

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Neville-Rolfe Portrait Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Con)
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I shall make two points. First, I draw my noble friend’s attention to the UK-wide fund of £35 million that we are providing to local authorities and others to provide casework teams to support this move from hotels into settled accommodation. They are going to be working together with the Home Office, the DWP and local authorities. The £250 million housing fund is very flexible so it can be used, for example, if you need to knock two houses together to accommodate a family of 10, because some of the Afghan families who have come over are quite extensive.

Secondly, those caseworkers will be sitting in the hotels. As the process starts, individuals will be written to but they will also have caseworkers in the hotels to help them find accommodation. They will be liaising with local authorities and seeking out appropriate accommodation, and in many cases that will include the rented sector. The fund will also be able to help ease things, perhaps to find a deposit to help a family move into rented accommodation.

This is not easy, but we are in a difficult situation and we need to move it forward. That is why we have come forward with this very special package for this very special group under the corralling dynamism of the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.

Lord Bishop of Derby Portrait The Lord Bishop of Derby
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My Lords, I share many of the concerns that have been expressed about the routes into this country and the nature, safety and appropriateness of the accommodation for those who make it here—those to whom, as we have already noted, we have a moral obligation to extend sanctuary and welcome in this very particular circumstance.

My question relates to those who do manage to get here and who are settled. Regarding the provision of care offered to those households, I am sure the Minister will agree that the integration into local communities of Afghans who make it here is key to their flourishing and to our benefiting from the extraordinary richness they can offer us. We particularly need to ensure that the women of those households can be locally integrated. Will the Minister therefore assure the House that specific and targeted funding is being made available to Afghan women in their households in order to ensure that they are able safely and appropriately to access the support and resources being made available, such as support for English as a second language, access to education and training and access to health and mental health care for them and their children?