England

Coventry City Council takes most Syrian refugees

Syrian families have been resettled in the UK, including on the Isle of Bute Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Syrian families arriving on the Isle of Bute in Scotland - some of 610 accepted by the country

Coventry has taken the highest number of Syrian refugees in the UK, according to Home Office figures.

The city accepted 105 people from October to March under the Government's expanded resettlement programme.

The council said the first refugees arrived in 2014 and all costs associated with it "are met by the UK Government".

UKIP MEP James Carver said it put an unfair amount of pressure on services in Coventry compared to other areas.

More on this story and updates from Coventry & Warwickshire

See the breakdown of Syrians resettled by local authority area here.

The 71 local authorities in England and Scotland involved in the resettlement programme so far had shown a "tremendous amount of goodwill," the Home Office said.

The Government pledged to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020 as part of its Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.

A total of 71 local authorities have accepted 1,602 Syrians in the six months since October and the scheme is expected to cost £500m.

'Unfair'

A total of 159 people were settled in the West Midlands, with 44 in Birmingham and 10 in Stafford.

None of the refugees have gone to the North West and 33 were placed in London.

Only three people were settled by councils in Kingston upon Thames in Greater London and Mid Sussex.

Asylum seekers and refugees: What you need to know

Image caption James Carver said it was "unfair" to put greater pressure on public services in Coventry than other authority areas

West Midlands UKIP MEP, James Carver said it was "unfair" for Coventry to take more refugees than other councils.

"If the UK is pledging its humanitarian passion then this should be spread across all the authorities fairly," he said.

"I would bet my bottom dollar that the pressures on things like housing, hospitals, GP waiting times and school classroom sizes will be far greater in Coventry than in Mid Sussex. It's an unfair position to put Coventry in."

Public outcry

David Cameron announced plans to step up the scheme last year after public outcry over the fate of those driven to attempt to make the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean by boat.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We are very grateful for all the local authorities who have offered their support and will continue to work with them to identify further opportunities to resettle Syrian families."

Coventry City Council deputy leader Abdul Khan said: "Coventry cases have included refugees with significant medical needs and a number of families affected by the violence of the conflict in Syria.

"We have accepted them because it is the right thing to do."

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