Home Office blocks Devon housing bid

The Home Office has prevented a council joining a scheme to
resettle refugees in the UK – despite a lack of councils agreeing
to take part, it was revealed last week.

Devon Council wanted to support 10 refugee families from January
2005 in Exeter under the gateway protection programme, operated
jointly by the government and the UN. But, following concerns from
Exeter Council about a shortage of social housing in the city and
an inadequate consultation process, the Home Office has blocked the

A Devon Council spokesperson denied that there had been a lack of
consultation and said it had planned to house the families in Devon
Council-managed property.

The programme, which involves the safe transfer of refugees from
their country of asylum to another one that has agreed to take
them, aims to resettle up to 500 refugees a year. But since the
government agreed to take part in 2003, only Sheffield and Bolton
Councils have participated in the programme, helping 149

A Home Office spokesperson said officials had worked closely with
both Devon and Exeter Councils but had been “unable to reach
agreement with all parties concerned”. She added: “Without both
local authorities’ consent, the Home Office withdrew the programme
for Devon.”

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