UK councils ready to help Afghan refugees but lack housing stock

The UK government is being urged to provide more funds to help accommodate people fleeing Afghanistan.

Many councils have complained that they do not have sufficient housing stock to welcome all the new arrivals.

A number of councils are asking private landlords with empty properties that could be used to home Afghan refugees to come forward.

Maidstone Borough Council is among a host of local authorities looking for self-contained properties with at least a six-month tenancy to help fulfil their commitment to supporting Afghan nationals arriving in the UK.

Cllr David Burton, leader of Maidstone Borough Council, said: “We are doing all we can to help these desperate people and are appealing to all landlords who can help to contact us.

“These extra properties are needed in addition to our usual housing requirements for local people who need accommodation as we do not have any extra availability in our current existing housing stock.”

There are three different routes for Afghans escaping the conflict: claiming asylum, the Afghan relocations and assistance policy (Arap) and the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme, which has not yet started.

Some councils have questioned whether the £5m fund for Arap housing costs – for people employed by or linked to the British government in Afghanistan – will be sufficient. They have called for this support to last for five years rather than 12 months.

Steve Cowan, the leader of Hammersmith and Fulham council in west London, told the press: “Councils like ours stand by ready to assist Afghan refugees and are already doing so but we need the government to come forward with a comprehensive scheme that joins up the approach across government departments providing sufficient financial and organisational support.”

He added: “The £5m housing fund the government has offered all councils will be insufficient to meet the difference between rent prices and the benefit cap. That should be increased and apply for five years rather than the current one year if we’re to get private landlords to take on the necessary tenancies.

“Sufficient funding for healthcare, integration, education support, and employment training needs to be part of the scheme. It needs to recognise the pressures already felt in local communities relying on services or needing affordable housing.”

Fleur Anderson, the MP for Putney in Wandsworth, south London, who is trying to help about 130 UK Afghan constituents get family members out of Afghanistan, has urged the government to ensure the Afghan scheme works more quickly than the Syrian vulnerable persons resettlement scheme that she was involved with.

“In that scheme many Syrians were left in camps in Jordan for years,” she told The Guardian.

“Not only accommodation but also community support is needed as soon as possible,” she added.


Email the story to a friend


  1. AlwaysAnAgent

    The powers that be could not have chosen a worse time to promise housing support to a number of Afghans, although I am sure most people will agree that these people do need and deserve our support.

    Councils are asking landlords of empty properties to come forward. After years of discouraging landlords to enter the market, there aren’t any empty properties, or haven’t they noticed?


    1. PossessionFriendUK39

      Actually,  whilst having  every sympathy for them, I do NOT  believe they should have  ‘ Western world ‘ support.

      I think they should go to their neighbouring Muslim countries such as Pakistan and Iran.

  2. jan - byers

    What about English people who work sand pay tax – they have no chance of a council house

  3. Woodentop

    There is no room at the inn.


    There just aren’t the vacancies and if the powers that be, hadn’t been so naïve towards landlords in recent years and bitten the hand that feeds them resulting in a major shortage of vacancies over the last couple of years the mess that is about to hit the fan, wouldn’t be a problem. WE TOLD YOU SO and its about to get worse and the backlash is unthinkable from all angles.

  4. Russell121

    We’ve had a ten fold increase in local authorities calling us, on behalf of would be applicants to see if we have any available properties to rent, which we have none. God knows where they are going to house 17,000 Afghans added to the asylum seekers coming over from France. Maybe I’ve just missed all the new housing available. 

    1. AcornsRNuts

      Perhaps as well as an orchard of money trees, Boris has found a quarry of houses?

      1. jan - byers

        It was Corbyn who cheerfully said that the UK should accept ANY afghan who wants to come here.

        Echoed by the Socialist Worker and by Momentum.

        Corbyn also visited the Jungle in France and said if he got in they would all be welcomed here.

        1. PossessionFriendUK39

          But why are the Tories following Corbyn’s doomed philosophy.

          The vast majority of British people have had more than Enough of the Immigration debacle  and hopefully will vote Reform UK at next election.


          The Conservatives can’t be trusted to do anything other than Trouser loads of funds and look after their mates.  !

          1. Woodentop

            Actually the UK government have an international agreement to help.

            1. PossessionFriendUK39

              The UK  Government have agreed ( in the public’s name )  to a lot of things they Shouldn’t  have. Majority of Britain wants LESS immigration,  not more.

              1. Woodentop

                Its been going on since the 1970 United Nations Pact.

  5. Woodentop

    Rumblings are that the seaside holiday camps around the UK are going to have a winter season.


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Comments are closed.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.