Refugees to make Milton Keynes their home

Councillor Andrew Buckley
Councillor Andrew Buckley

Refugees are to be made welcome and housed in Milton Keynes “as quickly as possible”, following a decision at last night’s council meeting.

Councillors gave the green light to taking in 20 Syrians after Lib Dems called for Milton Keynes to accept its fair share of families.

Conservative's proposed amendment to the motion

Conservative's proposed amendment to the motion

Labour group leader Pete Marland says he will now work with the government to put plans into action after 52 councillors voted in support of the motion.

Despite cross-party support in the chamber, some councillors voiced concerns over the potential impact on the city’s current housing demands.

The Conservatives called for a review of MK’s housing stock so that existing residents and those seeking refuge could all be “adequately looked after”.

But the motion amendment was withdrawn at the eleventh hour after it failed to officially ‘ask the government for financial backing’ to support the refugees.

Councillor Andrew Buckley abstained from voting because of the last-minute hitch.

He said: “At the moment we are not sufficiently sure that we are able to house our existing citizens in Milton Keynes.

“We want to make sure we have the appropriate resources to do so.

“I was not consulted about withdrawing the amendment, but without it I felt uneasy about supporting the motion.

“I do not want it said that I don’t want to welcome refugees, because that is not the case.

“I want to help as long as it is clear it won’t put more strain on an already difficult situation.”

Councillor Alice Bramall said she pulled the “unnecessary” amendment when Labour showed they were willing to ensure these steps were taken.

The council now awaits to find out when the Syrian refugees will arrive in MK.