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Pressure mounts to allow Syrian refugees into UK

THE UK Government has rebuffed a call from Nigel Farage for Britain to start admitting refugees fleeing the fighting in Syria but pressure from across the political spectrum for it do so is mounting.

The Ukip leader, who has been at the forefront of the opposition to allowing migrants from Bulgaria and Romania unfettered access to the UK, said the position of those displaced by conflict was very different

"Refugees are a very different thing to economic migration and this country should honour the spirit of the 1951 declaration on refugee status that was agreed."

He added: "There is a responsibility on all of us in the free West to try and help some of those people in Syria fleeing literally in fear of their lives."

Mr Farage's remarks came days after David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg issued a joint statement backing the UN's £4 billion appeal for assistance.

David Davis, the Tory backbencher, suggested Mr Farage's comments were in part an attempt to "reposition" Ukip so that its anti-immigration push was not "seen as a barbaric argument".

A spokesman for the Lib-Con Coalition made clear there were no plans to resettle Syrian refugees in the UK and that the policy remained to provide as much help as possible in the region, pointing out how the UK's pledge of £500 million of aid was far more than any other EU state.

Officials said in the 12 months to the end of September, more than 1100 Syrian nationals had been granted asylum in the UK.

Meantime, ahead of transitional restrictions being lifted on EU migrants from Bulgaria and Romania from tomorrow, the UK Government made clear overseas visitors and migrants who required accident and emergency NHS treatment in England would in future be charged.

The move forms part of an extension of the NHS charging regime in England intended to deter so-called "health tourism".

Under the proposed changes, migrants and overseas visitors will have to pay for primary care services such as minor surgery carried out by GPs, while prescription charges will be extended.

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Local government

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