UK to use foreign aid money to pay for housing Syrian refugees

September 6, 2015 14:27

LONDON - Britain will use part of its foreign aid budget to help meet the costs of accommodating refugees arriving from Syria, its finance minister said on Sunday, in a bid to head off public concerns over the impact on local services.

Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday that Britain would welcome "thousands more" Syrian refugees, after an outpouring of emotion over the image of a Syrian toddler lying dead on a Turkish beach put him under pressure to act.

Cameron had previously refused to commit Britain to taking in more refugees in response to a surge in numbers reaching Europe.

On Sunday, finance minister George Osborne said that Britain would use part of its foreign aid budget, equivalent to 0.7 percent of gross domestic product, to help local authorities meet the costs of helping new arrivals.

"The foreign aid we have ... can provide the support in the first year for these refugees, could help the local councils with things like housing costs," Osborne told the BBC.

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