Cllr John Mills
UKIP’s representative on Lichfield District Council has called for a common sense approach to the refugee crisis. The Government is preparing to accept at least 10,000 displaced people into Britain, according to reports. Chancellor George Osborne has announced some of the United Kingdom’s £12billion Foreign Aid budget will be used to help local authorities house refugees. Locally, a petition has been set up calling on the ruling Conservatives to offer housing to 10 families. But Cllr John Mills, UKIP’s representative for Fazeley, believes local politicians need to respond to the petition with their heads rather than their hearts.
Cllr John Mills
He said: “Prime Minster David Cameron has made this mess and now he’s expecting us to clear it up. “The local authority is no longer in control of the housing stock, as they sold it all off decades ago, so I’m not sure how we should respond to the petition. “Obviously, everyone would like to take in all of the people who are fleeing war and persecution – but we can’t help everyone, and there is a limited supply of housing across the country. “We can’t just emotionally make a commitment to take people in. We need to sit down and really think things through to ensure we are helping genuine refugees.” Meanwhile, the Green Party have been calling for the UK to take in 240,000 refugees.
Simon Partridge
Simon Partridge, the party’s spokesman for Lichfield and Burntwood, has called on local politicians to respond with compassion. He said: “People are not leaving their countries because they don’t like their homes – they are fleeing war and persecution. “Our response to the crisis has been to call on Prime Minister Cameron to take in more refugees, because we’re a caring party who cares deeply about all people.” Cllr Colin Greatorex, cabinet member for housing and health at Lichfield District Council, said the authority is ready to play its part. He added: “We have been told by the Home Office that they are exploring options of how to disperse refugees across the country. “We believe other councils in Staffordshire have also been contacted. “While we don’t have any council housing, we will work with our housing association partners and other partners to provide support and assistance as required.”

Lewis Deakin

NCTJ-trained reporter with experience in a wide variety of journalism settings.