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London Chamber calls for action to support refugees

Tuesday 11 April 2023

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) calls for a stronger relationship and enhanced cooperation between regional and central governments to address the refugee housing crisis in London.

In evidence presented to the independent Commission for the Integration of Refugees, chaired by Lord Carlisle, LCCI stated that there was not a joined-up approach between the Government, the Mayor of London and local councils on housing, health and business support. Therefore, robust collaboration was imperative for effective integration of refugees in communities.

In its submission, the Chamber stated:

London is a global city that welcomes people from across the world who are forced to flee war and persecution. From the Huguenots of the 18th century to the Ukrainian refugees in the 2020s, London has always been a welcoming city for people to start their lives anew after traumatic and tragic circumstances. Refugees have made significant contributions to what London is today and that includes its thriving business community”.

However, LCCI stated that refugees were forced to grapple with the high cost of housing in the capital leading which can lead to people suffering deprivation after having endured traumatic experiences.

With London businesses having to cope with skills gaps and vacancies, the opportunity for refugees to fill these positions and contribute to the London and national economy should not be missed. The scale of this issue means that work between regional and central government needs to be enhanced to tackle the housing crisis for refugees once and for all.

Richard Burge, Chief Executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said:

“London’s very success is based upon its openness and diversity. This enables new innovations in business, science and the arts to develop and grow and has contributed to London contributing over 20% towards the GDP of the United Kingdom.

The skills crisis affecting London’s businesses, since the end of the EU transition period, sees no sign of abating. For the business community, at a time when skills gaps are holding back business and economic growth, the unnecessary restrictions on asylum seekers and refugees seeking work is counter-intuitive to the Government’s pro-growth policy.

Businesses across London do not see why Home Office restrictions should stop asylum seekers and refugees playing their role in supporting themselves and the wider community. Only then, will effective integration of refugees in communities take place.”

LCCI is making the optimum use of its good relationships with various government departments to support refugees integration in the capital. With the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), LCCI is looking to hold a jobs fair for refugees in the end of May.

ENDS

Notes To Editors:

  • LCCI made a submission to the Commission for the Integration of Refugees in March to highlight main steps that governments must take to ensure smooth integration of refugees in London and UK communities. The entire submission can be viewed here.