MIDDLESBROUGH Council is currently supporting four families from Afghanistan.

Mayor Andy Preston has previously stated that Middlesbrough would take in up to fifteen Afghan families following the Taliban takeover in the country.

The council has said that four families are now living in permanent homes in the town.

Recently, the RAF airlifted 102 people, across two planes, to the UK who had fled Afghanistan but were in a neighbouring country.

Read more: Week-long operation sees 64 fugitives arrested

This was the first military relocation, with more expected in coming weeks, of eligible Afghans and British nationals since the Kabul evacuation ended in August.

The UK has committed to welcoming around 5,000 Afghan people in the first year and up to 20,000 in the coming years.

Mr Preston has previously spoken out in favour of welcoming Afghan citizens, however, has said that ‘posh places’ in the South also need to be doing their fair share.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service found that the most affluent local authority in the country according to the UK Prosperity Index 2021, Wokingham Council (Berkshire), was only taking in three families.

In comparison, Middlesbrough ranks second last, in 378th place.

Mr Preston has previously said: “For years Middlesbrough has taken far more than its fair share of asylum seekers, and we’ve been happy to give them the shelter and security denied them in their own countries.

“And we’ll continue to do that, in support of anyone who is persecuted, terrorised, and abused.

“But it’s time for a ‘levelling up’ where places like Middlesbrough don’t continue to shoulder most of the challenges – so I’d want to see posh places like Kensington & Chelsea and Elmbridge, Surrey taking their fair share of those in need as well.

“Together we can do this, but only if it’s done fairly, if everyone plays their part and if the right support is in place.

“We owe it to those who have put their lives on the line in support of our squaddies – they are our friends and allies and we will stand by them.”

Local authorities who take in Afghan families through the government scheme will receive £20,520 per person over the next three years and there will also be £20m of flexible government funding for local authorities that need extra support.

Councils and health partners who house families will also receive up to £4,500 per child for education, £850 for English language provision for adults if required and £2,600 to cover healthcare.

Eligible Afghans, who arrive in the UK through a government scheme, will be given indefinite leave to remain – they will be allowed to work, access education and apply for benefits.

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