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Northumberland could answer refugee SOS call.

Byline: Will Metcalfe Local government reporter

NORTHUMBERLAND could be the latest part of the North East to welcome refugees. Historically, the county has not been used as a dispersal area when Britain takes in overseas refugees.

But following a call from the government for more areas to come forward the council is preparing to welcome Syrian families.

Prime Minister David Cameron has committed to rehoming 20,000 families across the country in the next four years at a rate of 100 families per week.

Newcastle and Gateshead have both welcomed families into the region and cabinet members at Northumberland will be asked to support housing refugees in principle, before taking further steps, including work to identify possible homes. The authority is looking to gauge support for the move ahead of any proposals to formally accept refugees.

Kevin Lowery, director of local services and housing, has told cabinet members: "Northumberland County Council has never declined to accept the dispersal of asylum seekers or refugees, rather G4S have not sought to source accommodation in the county.

"Northumberland therefore is one of three authorities in the region that have not previously been asylum dispersal areas.

"As there is a lack of existing infrastructure and experience in providing an effective offer, NCC will need to ensure that we can provide effective support to the scheme to resettle refugees.

"We are therefore currently considering what would be our capacity as a stock holding authority in terms of accommodation, what support could be offered to those we take and how would this be managed, how suitable support services and infrastructure can be developed, what would be our capacity as a stock holding authority in terms of accommodation, what support could be offered to those we take and how would this be managed and how suitable support services and infrastructure can be developed."

The total cost of housing an adult refugee on benefits would be PS23,420, PS10,720 for other adults, and PS16,220 for children aged five to 18.

The costs are per year but the cost to Northumberland County Council would be PS8,520 per person with additional costs picked up by the Government.

In Gateshead 53 Syrian refugees have been rehomed, while in Newcastle are offering homes to 50 refugees. No figures have yet been put forward for how many refugees Northumberland should take.

BRIMSTONES USED AGAINST IS RAF aircraft carried out four missions against the Islamic State (IS) terror group in Syria on Sunday, using hi-tech Brimstone missiles in the country for the first time.

The attacks targeted an IS vehicle and tunnels near the town of Raqqa, as well as the Omar oilfield in the east of the country near the border with Iraq, said Downing Street.

Brimstone is a "fire-and-forget" radar-guided precision weapon which can be used against moving targets, and was cited by Prime Minister David Cameron in the run-up to last month's vote on war in Syria as the kind of UK asset which would make a "meaningful difference" to the battle against IS.

The four missions taking place over the course of Sunday involved: ? Two Tornado GR4 jets using a Brimstone missile to destroy a supply truck near Raqqa and targeting two IS buildings in the area, including a command and control centre, with Paveway IV laser-guided bombs. ? Reaper unmanned drones targeting an IS terrorist position in the Raqqa area with a Hellfire missile. ? Two Tornado jets striking a tunnel complex near Raqqa with four Paveway bombs.

. ? An attack on the Omar oilfield by two Tornados and a Reaper drone, which used used three Brimstones as well as Hellfire missiles to attack a number of mobile cranes brought in by IS to attempt to repair damage inflicted by previous RAF and coalition air strikes.

Yesterday morning, an RAF Reaper flew the 1,000th drone sortie against IS since the beginning of operations in October 2014, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

The MoD also released details of strikes against IS in Iraq last week.

Two Tornados used Paveway bombs to strike militants attempting to mount attacks against Iraqi ground forces near the town of Haditha in western Iraq on January 6. The jets then flew south to Ramadi to support Iraqi forces fighting to eliminate remaining IS positions holding out in the city following its recapture at the end of December.

Working closely with other coalition aircraft, the jets conducted four Paveway attacks, destroying two machine-gun positions and two armoured personnel carriers, said the MoD. In northern Iraq, RAF Tornados supporting Kurdish forces used a Paveway to destroy an IS unit manning rocket launchers south of Sinjar, and six Paveways against three IS fighting positions and three accommodation blocks near Mosul.


<BUS military and coalition forces painted artworks on to blast walls and shipping containers to brighten up their otherwise bleak Middle East base
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 12, 2016
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