By Andy Mitchell 

Oxfordshire County Council has been urged to take the lead in setting up more formalised and county-wide help for asylum seekers and refugees.

Mark Goldring, a director of Oxford-based charity Asylum Welcome, made the plea at this week’s meeting of the full council amid a “huge increase” of asylum seekers and refugees across Oxfordshire.

He asked the council to “commit to explore” ways to “establish and properly staff a permanent refugee support and coordination function” on a “genuinely county-wide basis” that involves “joint-planning and resourcing with districts, the city, relevant services, civil society and other organisations”.

He said: “Officials from many teams have done well, but there is not a core, ongoing centre of expertise with decision-making responsibility, consistently linking to ensure services work for the many thousands of refugees now living in our county.”

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