No refugees from Syria have been provided sanctuary by Hackney Council


Volunteers sorting donations for Calais in Dalston last year. Photograph: Vicky Ilankovan

Hackney has yet to offer sanctuary to refugees fleeing the war in Syria, it has emerged.

A total of 1,337 people have been taken in by the UK under the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement scheme, introduced in 2014.

Of those, 43 have been received by London – 3 per cent of the total.

A Freedom of Information Request by charity Citizens UK found that only four London boroughs – Camden, Islington, Barnet and Kingston – have provided shelter for refugees and migrants from Syria so far.

Tim Shields, Chief Executive of Hackney Council, told the Hackney Citizen: “We have been working closely with the Home Office to identify properties to house refugee families.

“This has been a challenge for all London boroughs, and the majority of families have been housed outside London.  Progress has been made and we expect to receive the first of five families in the coming months.”

Hackney mayor Jules Pipe last year said the council wanted to “stand up and help” Syrian refugees and called on the government to “step up” its response to the European refugee crisis and provide funding for local authorities.

Millions of people have travelled into Europe since the crisis in Syria. At least 95,000 unaccompanied child refugees are estimated to have applied for asylum in Europe last year.

On Monday the government defeated a cross-party amendment to the Immigration Bill, which would have let 3,000 child refugees into the UK.

A new proposal from Labour is to be debated in the House of Lords on Tuesday, proposing that the number of Syrians taken in “be determined by the government in consultation with local authorities”.