Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Thousands of refugees at risk under no-deal Brexit as funding will be lost, UK Refugee Council warns

Refugee Council accuses UK of 'disgraceful u-turn' after being told vital funding will now not be protected after Brexit

Discussions between the UK and the European Union have heightened in recent days. AFP
Discussions between the UK and the European Union have heightened in recent days. AFP

A British refugee group has written an open letter to the UK government expressing its "outrage" that thousands of people will be left without vital support in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The Refuge Council is taking action after revealing that its EU funding will disappear if there is a no-deal Brexit on October 31.

More than 10,000 people have signed a petition from the group calling on the UK government to address the issue.

Groups presently receiving EU funding through the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) have been told by the UK government that the funding will not be matched after Brexit.

It estimates more than 2,000 people will be affected and it will be forced to close services leaving vulnerable refugees at risk.

In the letter the group says: "The funding has enabled the Refugee Council to run vital projects providing crisis advice and support for refugees at risk of homelessness and destitution, helping them understand the UK job market and giving support to reduce isolation.

"A loss of funding on this unprecedented scale would wipe out the majority of the Refugee Council’s capacity to help these refugees rebuild their lives in safety.

"Over 2,000 refugees will now miss out on vital support from the Refugee Council alone, and many thousands more will be denied help from other affected NGOS across the UK."

It says it was given assurances by the UK government that there would not be a risk to the AMIF funding after Brexit.

It added: "Many charities had been previously assured that this funding would be protected, so the decision to now cut short the promised funds represents a disgraceful Government U-turn.

"Refugees’ prospects of being able to rebuild their lives in safety and integrate into British life are being put under threat.

"We urge you to overturn this decision, and ask you to commit to long-term replacement funding, to allow the Refugee Council, and others, to carry on their vital work supporting refugee integration."

The group has mounted a petition to get the funding decision overturn.

In a tweet it said: "In just 3 days well over 10,000 people have signed our letter calling on Govt to undo its disgraceful U-turn which will see thousand of refugees left without access to vital services in the event of a no-deal Brexit. THANK YOU!"

Presently a deadlock in the UK's Brexit talks with the EU this week are making it more likely it will leave the EU on October 31 without a deal.

Updated: October 8, 2019 05:19 PM

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