Rules to spread refugees nationwide come a step nearer

Photo: Donald Trung Quoc Don via Wikipedia

Controversial legislation to ensure all local authorities have to provide a certain number of beds for refugees will now pass in the lower house parliament because a majority of MPs are in favour.

An amendment from the Socialists to ensure that councils’ finances also play a role in the quota system is backed by the other supporting parties, meaning the SP will now vote in favour of the plan. 

Parliament will vote on the full legislation on Thursday, and then it will still have to be discussed in the upper house of parliament. 

The ruling VVD is opposed as are all the far-right parties because they say the measure will take away autonomy from local authorities. Pro countryside party BBB had backed the plan but is also now opposed because of the element of compulsion. 

The legislation means that councils that refuse to provide any accommodation for refugees will face sanctions. 

Research published by RTL Nieuws a year ago showed that more than half of Dutch local councils have not provided any housing for refugees in the past 10 years.

Richer council areas and Bible belt towns and villages are far less likely to have housed a refugee centre. The research shows that nearly all of the 25 poorest local authorities in the country have provided temporary housing for refugees at some point since 2012, while just three of the richest 25 have done so.

The COA is currently providing accommodation for nearly 57,000 refugees, of whom 16,000 have official residency permits but cannot move into regular housing because of the nationwide shortage of homes.

Of the total, 26,000 are living in temporary housing, including converted sports halls, army barracks and marquees.

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