The Government has met its target to resettle 1,000 Syrian refugees in the UK before Christmas, Prime Minister David Cameron told MPs at Prime Minister's questions, asserting Britain had done its "moral duty".
"I said that Britain would do its duty and with these thousand we have made a very good start. I made a promise that we would resettle 1,000 by Christmas and I can confirm today that we have met our commitment to resettle 1,000 refugees by Christmas," Cameron told the Commons on 16 December.
"The charter flights that arrived yesterday (15 December) at Stansted and Belfast mean that over 1,000 have been settled. Another charter flight is coming today," he added, explaining the government was providing for the costs of housing, healthcare and education for the refugees.
The 1,000 Syrian refugees now settled in the UK are the first of 20,000 to arrive over the next five years, as part of a UN scheme. David Cameron pledged his government to the scheme in the wake of the refugee crisis gripping Europe and the outpouring of public sympathy following the death of Alan Kurdi in the Aegan Sea.
The first Syrian refugees – roughly 100 families – arrived in the UK to Glasgow in mid-November with later flights arriving elsewhere in Britain.
Issues of funding and concerns from local authorities that they will have to support the vulnerable Syrians, many of them children, once allocated funds from the overseas budget for the first year after arrival run out, have led to concern in local government over the UK response to the refugee crisis.
Funding remains a critical issue. "Until government provides further information on how the relocation scheme will work and be funded locally and regionally, councils' wish to resettle new arrivals could be hindered," Councillor David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA's Asylum, Migration and Refugee Task Group, said.
"If families arrive steadily over the next four years, the new funding of £130m over this parliament for councils will need monitoring to ensure the scheme is adequately funded. Government now needs to commit to a review of costings after 18 months."
In the wake of the November attacks in Paris there has been a noticeable drop in public support for the arrival of refugees. Research from ORB International has found British citizens are among the least likely across Europe to offer up their home to refugees.
The Bulgarians (14%), British (20%) and Dutch (27%) are the most likely to refuse temporary shelter. Temporary shelter is most likely to be found in Spain (62%), Greece (48%) and Germany (48%), the ORB study shows.
Johnny Heald, Managing Director of ORB International said in a statement to IBTimes UK: "These results show that the UK are some of the least likely to offer temporary shelter to a refugee and some of the least likely to criticise the response to the crisis from Europe. It seems that it's a problem many don't want to think about, a problem many people are happy to see play out away from our shores. Its hardly a good advert for the Big Society"