Lambeth Labour councillors have today reaffirmed our firm commitment to making Lambeth a safe and welcoming place for refugees to make their home, and to refuse to work with the Tories’ “hostile environment”.
At Lambeth Full Council, Lambeth councillors passed a motion which celebrates the enormous contribution of refugees to making Lambeth the successful, tolerant, and exciting place it is. It also celebrates the work of Lambeth council and its partners in the community, including the South London Refugee Association, our local NHS, Lambeth Citizens, Single Homeless Project, and those in Lambeth’s voluntary sector and residents who have all worked together to support so many refugees settle here – including the 28 families of Syrian, Iraqi, and Sudanese backgrounds we have welcomed to the borough since 2016.
Councillors noted that whilst there is much to celebrate, there is a huge amount still to be done, and that the issues of COVID-19, the climate crisis, conflict, extreme economic inequality, political persecution, and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people will continue to drive people to seek sanctuary in the UK.
The motion calls for the re-establishment of safe and legal routes, including the reopening of the Dubs Scheme, and recommits Lambeth to playing its part in offering unaccompanied child refugees a home and a life.
We will ensure that Lambeth, rather than exacerbating the hostile environment by collaboration with the Home Office, offers sanctuary and support to migrants and refugees. We call for a route for undocumented migrants to seek settled status so they can continue to play a part in our community. We pledge to protect every Lambeth resident by ensuring all migrants, documented or undocumented, can access proper health advice and services.
Above all, Lambeth Labour councillors are calling for a fairer, more compassionate system that recognises the extraordinary contribution that people from overseas have made to our country.
Cllr Martin Tiedemann, who proposed the motion, said:
“I’m proud that Lambeth has recommitted itself to be a place that welcomes refugees and migrants, offering sanctuary to those who need it and has underlined our refusal to work with the Tories’ “hostile environment”. While the Conservatives have halted support for child refugees, left thousands of European citizens in limbo and cut aid to the poorest around the world, Lambeth Labour is working to ensure undocumented migrants have access to vaccines and offering children sanctuary from conflict, climate change and Covid. For migrant families like my own, that commitment means a great deal.”
Cllr Sonia Winifred, Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture, said:
“Lambeth remains a diverse welcoming and tolerant borough, aware of the terrible conflicts which forces families to flee their homes in fear, seeking asylum a safe place to call home. We will recognise their trauma and not question their mode of travel. We will continue to provide support, holding up our commitment to unaccompanied child asylum seekers.”
You can read the full motion and the commitments here – Motions to Full Council 21 July 2021