Theresa May unveils £1bn package to help refugees from Syria

Jobs and schools will be created in countries neighbouring the Syrian border to stop refugees fleeing to Europe under a £1 billion package set out by Theresa May during a visit to Jordan.

Prime Minister Theresa May. Picture: PA

The Prime Minister hailed Britain as a “kind and generous” country that does not turn its backs on those in need as she set out support for Syrians escaping the conflict.

Mrs May, who will visit children taking refuge in Jordan during a visit to a school, has faced intense criticism over the UK’s approach to the humanitarian crisis when a scheme to help unaccompanied child refugees closed after taking around 350 youngsters rather than the 3,000 that campaigners hoped for.

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But she insisted that incentivising refugees to stay in the region rather than making the perilous journey to Europe was the right course of action.

She said: “Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives and millions more have been forced to flee their homes by the barbarity of the Syria conflict.

“The UK has led the international response to the defining humanitarian crisis of our generation, and will continue to set the pace.

“The ambitious approach agreed in London last year is delivering real results and giving refugees what they want, opportunities and education close to home that provide a meaningful alternative to risking their lives trying to reach Europe. This is clearly in the UK’s national interest.

“I will be urging the countries attending the Brussels Conference to follow Global Britain’s lead and deliver on the promises we made in London by stepping up assistance to the millions of people affected by the ongoing Syria conflict and helping to build resilience across the region.

“We are a kind and generous country that will never turn our backs on those who so desperately need our support.”

A foreign aid package of £840 million from pledges made by the Government at last year’s London Syria Conference has been topped up with a further £160 million announced during the trip by Mrs May.

It will provide support for refugees and the countries hosting them across the region, including Jordan where there are more than 650,000 registered Syrian refugees.

As well as humanitarian support such as food, vaccinations, shelter and basic health care, the cash will go on tens of thousands of children in Jordan and Lebanon over the next three years.

Money will also be invested in building schools, roads and water plants in the two countries, creating thousands of new jobs.