Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston urges 'posh places' in the south to take more asylum seekers

Middlesbrough’s mayor has urged ‘posh places’ in the south to take in more asylum seekers stating that Middlesbrough has housed ‘more than its fair share’ for years.

MIddlesbrough mayor Andy Preston

Andy Preston’s comments come after he said that the town would ‘stand tall’ to support Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban takeover.

The mayor has called on the Prime Minister to ensure the ‘levelling up’ agenda includes measures that would see all parts of the country supporting people seeking refuge equally.

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Mayor Preston said: “For years Middlesbrough has taken far more than its fair share of asylum seekers, and we’ve been happy to give them the shelter and security denied them in their own countries. And we’ll continue to do that, in support of anyone who is persecuted, terrorised and abused.

“But it’s time for a ‘levelling up’ where places like Middlesbrough don’t continue to shoulder most of the challenges – so I’d want to see posh places like Kensington & Chelsea and Elmbridge, Surrey taking their fair share of those in need as well.

“Together we can do this, but only if it’s done fairly, if everyone plays their part and if the right support is in place. We owe it to those who have put their lives on the line in support our squaddies- they are our friends and allies and we will stand by them.”

The government has announced that it will receive 20,000 Afghan refugees over the next five years, with 5,000 expected in the first year.

In the past, Middlesbrough has had the highest proportion of asylum seekers in the country per head of population and the town even exceeded the Government guidelines for numbers in 2014.

Earlier in the week, the mayor said that Middlesbrough would welcome those fleeing persecution as long as they were willing to contribute to the town.

He added “Middlesbrough will stand tall and help, welcoming innocent people who are being persecuted, terrorised, and abused. I don’t care where you come from – if you need help and you are willing to contribute to Middlesbrough then we will help you.

"This is especially true when it comes to Afghan people who have put their lives on the line by supporting British armed forces – these friends and allies of Britain are in mortal danger and abandoning them is not an option.

“In Middlesbrough we stand by our friends and allies – regardless of where they’re from.”