Preston’s ‘doors are open’ to house more Syrian refugees

DESPERATE: Syrian refugees cross into Hungary at the border fence with Serbia

DESPERATE: Syrian refugees cross into Hungary at the border fence with Serbia

Share this article
37
Have your say

The leader of Preston Council has issued a warm welcome to refugees escaping war-torn Syria.

Coun Peter Rankin said the city had “already opened its doors” to 40 single people seeking sanctuary from persecution, and would be willing to take more.

Confident: Peter Rankin

Confident: Peter Rankin

He said: “For God’s sake, this country must accept more of these people.

“Preston has welcomed and accepted refugees through the years and in recent weeks have already welcomed 40 from Syria. We have seen from previous influxes that refugees have contributed enormously to the community and should not be seen as a drain on resources.

“The council would be happy to join in the preparations for more arrivals.”

Coun Rankin’s announcement comes after Jeremy Dable, chairman of Preston Faith Forum, wrote an an open letter to David Cameron urging him to welcome refugees.

For God’s sake, this country must accept more of these people.

Coun Peter Rankin

The letter states: “This country has to play its part in taking in many more refugees, just as it did in the past: the Jews in the 1930s; the Ugandan Asians, and many more down the years, all who have brought prosperity and great cultural diversity and strength to this country. As community leaders we would say to government that Preston is a generous city and,  for the sake of a common humanity, would want to take a share of  these desperate people fleeing war and persecution.

“We are confident that our city’s people would give a generous welcome and do all they could to support any refugees.”

Preston community champion Lady Milena, herself a Jewish refugee from World War Two, said: “I was a refugee in 1939 and was taken in by an English family who had to move their granddaughter out so that my sister and I could stay. I absolutelty agree with the letter.”

The Prime Minister said yesterday Britain was already providing sanctuary to around 5,000 refugees from the camps, and had provided around £900 million in aid - more than any other European country.

He said Britain had a “moral responsibility” to help refugees but gave no indication that the UK would be willing to resettle any of the hundreds of thousands of people who have made perilous Mediterranean crossings by boat to reach Europe over the past few months.

Instead, he said the country would accept thousands more from he refugee camps, which are seen as a ore direct and safe route to the UK.