To consider the motion proposed by Cllr V Pothecary seconded by Cllr S Flower.
The following motion was proposed by Cllr V Pothecary, seconded by Cllr S Flower and supported by Cllrs P Batstone, K Wheller, T Cook, S Jespersen, B Ridout, M Penfold, J Somper, C Sutton, C Jones and D Tooke
80 years ago, at a time of great economic crisis, and in just 10 months, 10,000 mostly Jewish children were brought to Britain from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia, saving them from Nazi persecution. This magnificent effort by the people of Britain became known as the Kinder Transport.
The threat to children fleeing war and oppression is now at the highest level it has been in the last 70 years. We are witnessing the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II, with over 70 million displaced worldwide by war, persecution and conflict. 25 million of these are refugees and more than 50% are children under 18yrs old.
Lord Dubs and Safe Passage are calling upon every local authority across the country to commit to accepting “a minimum of 3 unaccompanied or vulnerable children per year every year for the next 10 years”. Across the country, this would equate to the 10,000 child refugees brought here 80 years ago.
Safe Passage are committed to Safe and Legal routes for child refugees, so not only would these children be properly authenticated by agencies such as UNHCR working with the UK Home Office, but they would arrive by a SAFE and LEGAL ROUTE, not as spontaneous arrivals having taken immense risks in flimsy dinghies, or under or inside lorries. Furthermore, their care would be ensured through a fully government funded scheme and would not be an ongoing burden on local taxation.
On the 8th November last year Safe Passage (Dorset) obtained Dorset County Councils unanimous vote to providing their strongest support to their campaign and to carry this forward to Dorset Council at the earliest opportunity.
Notice of Motion
“That, provided Government fully funds the programme. Dorset Council will give the strongest possible support to Safe Passage (Dorset) by accepting a minimum of three unaccompanied and vulnerable refugee children per year, over a ten year period.”
The Chairman invited Mr B Sullivan, on behalf of the deputation, to make a statement in respect of Safe Passage following which members debated the motion before them. Details of the statement are set out in Appendix 2 to these minutes.
The Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Early Years indicated that, in principal, he supported Lord Dubb’s concept and the notice of motion and many councillors spoke in support of the motion. However it was agreed that it was important that the Safe Passage project was not a financial burden to the council and the children it already looked after. Therefore central government support for the scheme was essential.
It was proposed by Cllr V Pothecary seconded by Cllr S Flower
That provided Government fully funds the programme. Dorset Council will give the strongest possible support to Safe Passage (Dorset) by accepting a minimum of three unaccompanied and vulnerable refugee children per year, over a ten year period.