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British families are forced to leave their homes so Afghan refugees can move in

Henlow Camp evictions Afghan refugees

Britain’s Ministry of Defence has ordered almost two dozen local families to leave their rented homes in a village near a former RAF base to make room for Afghan refugees.

The MoD originally told 24 households they had two months to leave the ex-army properties at Henlow Camp so Central Bedfordshire Council can use them to house 15 refugee families.

But after the move sparked uproar, six have been told they can stay, including veteran Adam Brunetti, who fought in Afghanistan, the Express reported.

Mr Brunetti, who is married with two young children, said: “Obviously we are very pleased… but we feel immense guilt because other families struggling with children and pets still have to go”.

Young couples with children and dogs, another married military veteran and his wife, and a woman with three dogs are among the others ordered to leave their homes.

“It’s so scary myself, partner and two young children have seven weeks to leave our current home,” one of the mothers said.

Another, Rachel Start, who moved to the area to be near her parents, told the Express: “Finding somewhere affordable will be extremely difficult. We’re all in the same boat, so will be fighting over the same houses.”

There is no suggestion that any of the families being evicted have violated the terms of their leases or failed to pay rent.

The properties at Henlow Camp are mainly owned by a private developer who in turn leases them to the MoD’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation, which then rents them out.

On February 7 the Central Bedfordshire Council announced that it had approved Home Office funding to house 15 Afghan refugee families for three years in “vacant MoD properties”.

“The schemes will prioritise those who are at risk under Taliban control because they assisted the UK’s efforts in Afghanistan in standing up for values such as democracy, women’s rights, freedom of speech and the rule of law; and vulnerable people, including women and girls at risk, and members of minority groups at risk,” the council said.

“The Home Office funding will take families out of temporary accommodation and into settled accommodation for 3 years, at zero cost to us, while they integrate into the UK and make their own decisions on future accommodation opportunities.”

The council added: “Having already supported the resettlement of 6 Afghan families since 2021, we also approved the acquisition of 12 homes for Afghan refugee resettlement in October 2023.”

Mid Bedfordshire Labour MP Alistair Strathern said he was “deeply concerned” about the evictions and has written to the MoD.

The MoD said in a statement that the tenants had signed short-term leases with two-month notice periods, and said in a statement: “Properties leased to families under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy are done so on a temporary basis.”

As of December 2023 a total of 27,900 Afghan refugees has arrived in the UK as part of the Afghan Resettlement Program, according to the Home Office.

Noticer News contacted Central Bedfordshire Council for comment.

Alistair Strathern Bedfordshire Afghan refugee evictions
Mid Bedfordshire Labour MP Alistair Strathern said he was “deeply concerned” about the evictions and has written to the MoD (Facebook)

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