WILTSHIRE could commit to supporting 20 refugee families from Afghanistan.

Speaking to cabinet, leader of the council, Richard Clewer said he has made it clear that he wants the Wiltshire Council to do as much as possible to help Afghan refugees.

After reviewing the accommodation offers, the council will put to government its commitment to house 20 families.

Those families are currently staying at hotels before they receive more permanent accommodation in the county.

The report shows that £28 per night is provided to support those fleeing the middle-eastern country.

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Cllr Clewer said: “Their lives and their family’s lives have been put at risk because they chose to help our armed forces.

“As a result, we have brought them out of Afghanistan and I want us, as a military county, to be doing everything we can to help.”

He added that the response from residents was “good to see” and that landlords have offered accommodation, education support has been offered and people have rallied to get refugees what they need.

According to the report, the local authority would receive £20,520 per person over the three-year duration of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme – with an estimated total of £1.6m.

There will also be additional funding provided (£4,500 per child and £850 per adult) for education and English language, as well as £2,600 per person for health.

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Cllr Clewer said he is still trying to apply pressure on the MoD to allow the council to use some of its over 1,300 empty properties in the county.

He said that nowhere in the south west was making headway with requests made to the MoD.

Deputy leader, Laura Mayes, said that the council had found education spaces for all 49 Afghan children in Wiltshire, and is organising preschool activity in the hotel to help parents.

Cabinet member for housing, Phil Alford, reiterated that all the housing being offered was from the private sector and did not create competition with residents on housing waiting lists.

Cllr Ian Thorn, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said it was “deeply disappointing” that the MoD had not stepped up to help with the council’s efforts.

The leader of the council said that if more accommodation was to come forward then the council would offer to house more refugees.

Cabinet members unanimously approved the proposals, however as this was an online and informal meeting, a final decision will be made by the leader under his cabinet member delegation next week.