Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty
Wales has a proud history of welcoming refugees over many years and from many different countries. On 2 September, the First Minister made clear the Welsh Government is ready to play its part in responding to the current refugee crisis and making welcome a number of Syrian refugees. The impact on people of having to flee their homes, possessions and often their wider families and seek refuge in a new country cannot be underestimated. On 7 September, the First Minister announced the Welsh Government would be holding a Summit to bring together representatives from key agencies to ensure the necessary arrangements are in place to help successfully resettle Syrian refugees in Wales.
This Summit, at which I was present, took place earlier today. It acknowledged the impact there will be on Local Authority and other services in responding to the needs of Syrian refugees. Work will be on going across the Welsh Government and in collaboration with the Public Service, Third Sector and other stakeholders to take forward the actions agreed this morning.
Today, I am launching a consultation seeking views on the Welsh Government’s draft Refugee and Asylum Seeker Delivery Plan. The Delivery Plan was developed over a number of months earlier this year and prior to the events which have led up to today’s summit. It follows the previous three year Refugee and Inclusion Strategy Action Plan which ended in June 2014. The draft Delivery Plan sets out a number of priorities to improve services to refugees and asylum seekers. These were developed following engagement with Local Authorities and Third Sector organisations who support refugees and asylum seekers. The priorities cover issues over which the Welsh Government has competence and include health care, children, community cohesion and housing.
I am very keen to hear the views of our stakeholders and would encourage refugee and asylum seeker organisations and individuals to take part in this consultation to inform our understanding of the issues and to influence and shape the Delivery Plan. I would welcome views on whether we have selected the most appropriate priorities and actions and, in addition, any other actions considered appropriate to take forward provision of services over the next few years. The consultation will also provide an opportunity to reflect on the wider lessons of the current crisis and ensure the plan matches changing circumstances. The consultation will run for 12 weeks until 10 December 2015.