Exmouth welcomes refugees - My thoughts.
I note with interest the news that a group of refugees from the Manston migration centre will soon be arriving in Exmouth.
I’d like you to remember the warm welcome we gave to the Afghan refugees last year, and hope we can extend the same welcome this time. We are told this is a short term arrangement, as the Manston site is, as we all know, going through some severe problems. Things such as health care etc. and costs are all being funded by the home office, not the town, district or county councils. The councils are set up to provide small elements of support (such as collecting clothing donations), but nothing more. So, to repeat - this costs us as a town nothing. It also should not affect your access to a GP.
I know not all of you will agree with these sentiments, and I understand the reasons. But I’d like you to consider what they’ve been through to get here - you don’t do that if you’re not leaving a desperate situation. I’m proud that our town can help. We take less refugees than most of our former European colleagues, and we have massive staff shortages in the kind of industries these people can work in (once they have been granted asylum here) - all while we’re showing humanity and support for others. It’s a win-win situation potentially.
My only issue is how this may affect tourism - I note that in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, large numbers of hotel spaces are being used to house refugees in the town, preventing businesses locally from taking holiday bookings. This has knock on effects for all other tourism related businesses. I’d urge the home office to ensure that processing of new arrivals does not prevent towns’ traditional businesses from doing what they need to.