Thank you for contacting me about refugees.
I appreciate your concern with this issue. Britain continues to be at the forefront of the international response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, including as the second biggest bilateral donor of humanitarian aid, having already pledged £2.3 billion. Some £105 million of the funding will help Syrians who are still in Syria.
Britain will fulfil its legal and its moral responsibilities. That is why we sent the Royal Navy to the Mediterranean, saving thousands of lives; why we meet our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of our economy on aid; why Britain is the second biggest bilateral donor in the world to Syrian refugee camps; and why since the crisis began we have granted asylum to nearly 5,000 Syrians and their dependents through normal procedures.
In addition we will resettle up to 20,000 refugees by 2020. These refugees will come from the region itself ensuring we help the most vulnerable and that we do not encourage people from taking the perilous journey across the Mediterranean. It is important to remember that the vast majority of refugees are displaced in the region, which is why it is crucial we focus our efforts on supporting those who are displaced there.
To support our local communities the foreign aid budget will be used to finance these refugees for the first year and help local councils with things such as housing.
Simply taking people will not solve this crisis. We need a comprehensive solution that deals with the people responsible for the underlying problems: President Assad in Syria, the murderous Daesh and the criminal gangs that are running this terrible trade in people.
The Government continues to work with local authorities and international partners to deliver the commitment to resettle 20,000 refugees by 2020, and as I understand it is on track to do so. The number resettled in a particular period will depend on a range of factors including the flow of referrals from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the availability of suitable accommodation and support in the UK. Progress on resettlement is indicated in quarterly immigration statistics.
In terms of Brexit, it must be a priority to regain more control over our own immigration policy. This will not be achieved in a way that limits compassion or ambition, but in a manner that allows the UK to determine its own immigration policy.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.