I would like to make a cross party statement as Leader of the Council on behalf of all the party leaders and all councillors. I know that I have the support of the whole chamber for this statement.
You would need to have a heart of stone not to be moved by the scenes that we have witnessed recently across Europe. Men, women, children and whole families in desperate plight are being uprooted from their homes by war and turmoil. The horror of the situation has been brought home to us all by tragic pictures beamed throughout the world of poor Aylan Kurdi, the little boy whose body was washed up on a beach.
We have all been contacted by residents keen to provide whatever help they can. Merton Council, which has been working with refugees for many years, is helping to co-ordinate these efforts. We have been speaking with Merton’s faith communities and voluntary sector agencies and they are working with us to assist.
Merton is on standby and ready to help. We will take our fair allocation of refugees by working with London Councils. The recent announcement by the Government has indicated that financial support and additional powers are to be made available to councils. We welcome that and look forward to receiving more detailed information in the coming days.
Merton has a proud tradition of helping those in need. With the support of all sides of the chamber we must, can and will fulfil the trust our residents place in us to do the right thing in a time of crisis.
Thank you Mr Mayor