Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons at on 16 November 2023.

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Photo of Richard Graham Richard Graham Conservative, Gloucester

What steps the Church of England is taking to support asylum seekers and refugees.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner, The Second Church Estates Commissioner

The Church of England is supporting asylum seekers and refugees across the country, and our chaplaincies in Europe are providing health kits, safe places to sleep, clothes, and messages to families who have become separated.

Photo of Richard Graham Richard Graham Conservative, Gloucester

My hon. Friend will know that the diocese of Gloucester has recently acquired six modular homes from a local provider. Following the Gloucester housing summit that I convened not long ago, our diocese, city council and housing association are discussing how to make this model of modular housing work effectively for people in need of temporary accommodation, including those recently granted asylum. Will my hon. Friend join me in congratulating the diocese on its good work so far, and encourage it to make progress and put this model into practice as soon as possible, recognising that it is a new approach that could perhaps be adopted elsewhere?

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner, The Second Church Estates Commissioner

I am very happy to congratulate those in the diocese of Gloucester and thank them for the pioneering work that they are doing on housing, and I also thank my hon. Friend for the important leadership role he plays locally in respect of that extremely important issue. He is right to suggest that what Gloucester is doing has a wider application for others in need of emergency housing, not just asylum seekers and refugees, vitally important though that provision is. I share his view that the need is urgent, and that we should get on with this and other similar excellent initiatives as quickly as possible.