A petition to home 50 refugees in West Berkshire which was launched in the wake of the worst refugee crisis in a generation has now gained more than 300 signatures.
West Berkshire Action for Refugees set up the petition last week following a public outcry when photographs emerged of a three-year old Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, lying dead on a Turkish beach.
A national petition was also launched which demanded the UK Government do more to home refugees and reached over 400,000 signatures, forcing David Cameron to announce Britain would fulfil its “moral obligation” to those in need.
The petition to West Berkshire Council has since reached 302 signatures and in response council spokesperson Martin Dunscombe said: “No one who has seen the news reports about the refugee crises can fail to be moved by the scale of the issue or the personal stories that are told.
“This is a national, European and a world-wide issue and one which is best considered by central government.
“It’s important that as a council we listen to our local communities and petitions, once complete, can be presented to the council for consideration.”
The calls to take in more refugees in West Berkshire has sparked fierce debate on social media, too, and has polarised opinion on the newburytoday Facebook page.
The most “liked” comment with 35 thumbs up was from Sarah Greening-Steer who asked: “Is this a joke? They wanna try housing the local people that are homeless first!!!”
Second most approved comment, with 21 “likes” was from Lucy Wells who wrote: “We absolutely have a humanitarian obligation to help these people. We all need to do our bit from country leaders to local citizens.
“This has absolutely nothing to do with housing benefits and the homeless, this is about helping babies and children at risk of drowning and being killed whilst trying to escape war!!”
David Cameron is expected to announce how many refugees the UK will home later today.
What do you think about the situation? Can West Berkshire do more or has the UK already done enough?
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For full in-depth coverage of the refugee crisis pick up a copy of this week’s Newbury Weekly News on sale Thursday.