Refugee request refused

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PORTSMOUTH will remain a resettlement area for refugees after the government refused a request from the city’s council.

Council leader Councillor Donna Jones wrote to home secretary Theresa May in October to ask for the city’s status as a ‘cluster area’ be ended – a move that sparked protests. But the government has said Portsmouth will stay on the list of cluster areas.

Cllr Jones said the government was now reviewing the country’s cluster areas and would consider increasing the number of them in the south east.

She said Portsmouth should not be expected to take more refugees after the past 15 years as a cluster area.

Cllr Jones said: ‘We have people on seven-year waiting lists just to get a one-bedroom flat.

‘We have over 1,000 shortage of primary school places.

‘If there are other towns and cities in the south east that can cope and are writing to offer that help please give them the cluster area status.’