Midlothian to provide support for Afghan refugees
Midlothian Council has unanimously agreed to help relocate Afghan refugees as part of the UK Government scheme to support those most at risk from the Taliban regime.
The government has set out plans for up to 20,000 refugees to be resettled across the UK under the scheme. Up to 5,000 of these will come in the first year, with women and girls, persecuted minorities and the most vulnerable expected to make up the bulk of those resettling here.
At a meeting of the full Council held on Tuesday (24 August), councillors heard that although the number coming to Midlothian has still to be determined, the notional number is expected to be around 20, based on the similar Syrian refugee resettlement scheme. The UK Government has confirmed that there will be funding for the resettlement programme and that they will work closely with devolved governments and local authorities on where to house those who come here.
Package of support
According to their size and the availability of suitable property, councils will be expected to provide housing and a package of support to help integrate the refugees into the community.
“In the face of this unfolding humanitarian tragedy, the main focus needs to be on bringing people to safety as quickly as possible,” said Midlothian Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Stephen Curran. “In common with local councils in other parts of Scotland and across the UK, we have a moral obligation to help in whatever way we can. It’s hard to imagine the extreme fear and trauma these people are experiencing with the threat to their lives and the loss of their homes, livelihoods, families and communities.”