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Thousands join call against cuts to vital refugee services

The Refugee Council warns the cuts will affect 30,000 people struggling to find help with housing, healthcare, mental health and employment

MORE than 16,000 people have backed an open letter calling on the government to immediately reverse planned funding cuts to vital refugee services in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The cuts would leave about 30,000 people struggling to access help with housing, healthcare, mental health and employment, the Refugee Council said today.

Last month, in what the group described as a “disgraceful U-turn,” the government told charities it will withdraw millions of pounds of preallocated funding in the event of no-deal.

Such a move will “seriously undermine the futures of vulnerable refugees” that the government previously committed to supporting, many of whom are at crisis point and in need of urgent support, the Refugee Council warned.

While the government has committed, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, to guaranteeing other streams of EU funding that has been secured directly from the EU, it has refused to do the same for the EU’s Asylum, Migration & Integration Fund (AMIF) funds that were issued to charities via central government.

The Refugee Council, along with a host of other charities supporting refugees in Britain, received its AMIF funds via the Home Office, and has been told that, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, their funding will be cut immediately.

The charities say this is a clear back-track, citing assurances given by the government when it first awarded the grants that funding would be secure post-Brexit.

The Refugee Council is one of many charities that rely in part on the fund to support migrants at crisis point, including the case of Mary, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mary was given one month to leave the accommodation she was staying at after receiving refugee status.

Her local authority told her it could not provide her with somewhere to stay until she had slept outside as a rough sleeper, which led to a deterioration in her physical and mental health.

Refugee Council chief executive Maurice Wren said: “We are heartened by the amazing response from thousands of members of the public in such a short period of time.

“Once people hear the simple facts and imagine the damage these cuts will do, they have been very quick to act and show their support.

“We urge the Chancellor, Sajid Javid, to see reason and listen to what thousands of people are saying: overturn this decision immediately so that we can continue to help refugees build their lives and start to contribute to UK society.”

The Home Office said: “The government has guaranteed funding for organisations that successfully bid directly to the European Commission for AMIF.”

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