Milton Ward Labour Councillors Cheryl Nevin and Julian Ware-Lane have submitted the following motion to Southend Council:
We call on the Council to write to the Secretary of State at the Home Office to urgently send officials to Calais refugee camp to process legitimate asylum claims allowing unaccompanied children access to Britain and to safety.
The government is committed to helping these children, many of whom have family in the UK, with school terms starting in days, now is the time to act.
Britain should be following Germany's lead, of accepting more than one million refugees last year, distributed across hundreds of cities and villages in the country.
This government claims to be socially just, but letting these minors suffer alone one more day of squalor, desperation and destitution can only be viewed as a failure of leadership.
Councillor Cheryl Nevin said: ”Southend Residents working with charitable organisations in Calais , from all political persuasions, have been contacting us to ask for additional support in putting pressure on Government to act urgently. There are 65.3 million forcibly displaced persons across the world, most are hosted in developing countries; 40 million are displaced in their own country. Distressingly 51% of all refugees are children.”
Cheryl further commented: “ I’m told the legal paperwork is complete, the requirements all met, the Prime Minister needs to listen to the public and let these 387 most vulnerable children come to a place of safety, joining their families in the UK”.
Cllr Ware-Lane added: "Vulnerable people need help, and the Government should honour its promises. The delays and inaction are not acceptable. I am pleased to second Councillor Nevin's motion to Full Council, and hope that the Council chamber will back us and those in the community who also want action."