Britain’s Chancellor George Osborne today announced that the foreign aid budget will be used to fund the cost of housing Syrian refugees in the country.
The announcement was made to reduce concerns that local services would be affected by Prime Minister David Cameron’s commitment to welcome “thousands more” refugees into Britain.
“The foreign aid we have… can provide the support in the first year for these refugees, could help the local councils with things like housing costs,” Osborne told the BBC.
The United Kingdom has accepted only 216 Syrian refugees through an UN-led relocation scheme since the start of the civil war in 2011. Cameron’s announcement means that Britain will accept around 4000 more.
Many European countries have been pressuring Britain’s government to accept more migrants. Germany expects to welcome 800,000 refugees this year, but Cameron’s Conservative government are keen to avoid fuelling the immigration debate ahead of a European Union membership referendum planned for 2017.