Opening the doors to Syrian refugees
Towns could accept those fleeing terror
Councillors are set to meet today ( Wednesday) to discuss the practicalities of bringing Syrian refugees to Rutherglen and Cambuslang.
Members of the executive committee will be asked to note a paper committing the authority to play its part in the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.
The council leader, Eddie McAvoy, told the Reformer this week there was a possibility the two towns would play their part, but said detailed plans could not be made until the Scottish Government and Home Office agreed on funding and support.
Councillor McAvoy said: “We have given a commitment we will take refugees once the practicalities are sorted out.”
David McClemont , from Cambuslang, helped with a highprofile campaign to aid refugees, and he said the two towns would play their part : “After seeing the generosity of the people of Cambuslang and Rutherglen, I’ve no doubt that any refugees that came her would be made to feel welcome, with people willing to put them up in their own homes if need be.
“However, that’s not a longterm solution which is why it’s important that the council and central government work out the details of their relocation scheme as soon as possible.”
Councillors will meet today (Wednesday) to discuss the possible relocation of Syrian refugees to Rutherglen and Cambuslang.
A South Lanarkshire Council report to the executive committee states that local authority participation is critical to the success of the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme, along with support from the voluntary sector and key local partner agencies.
The council have already indicated their willingness to participate.
The Prime Minister announced on September 7 that the UK will take 20,000 refugees by 2020. The Scottish Government has stated it will take its “fair share” of refugees.
The First Minister confirmed initial funding to support preparations for arrival and integration of refugees in terms of housing, language support, health and any additional support needs, access to education, befriending and making links with and preparing host communities.
Funding will also help to connect refugees with relevant groups and agencies and secure immediate personal needs.
There are more than 3.2million refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey and almost half of Syria’s pre- conflict population of 21.1million is now displaced.
Those who are accepted under SVPRS are granted humanitarian protection for five years with full access to employment and public funds, with the right to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK before the end of their humanitarian protection.
Council leader Eddie McAvoy said many issues still need to be ironed out: “Right now the Scottish Government and Home Office do not have details about how this is going to work or how it is going to be financed.
“We need to know what kind of housing they will need, if they need to be near schools and work things out with health boards. How much support will we get for that?
“If people want to be housed together we are very limited for housing so we may need to look at the private sector.”
The report states that those identified may bring their immediate family, with most families comprising four to six people.
The scheme provides support for survivors of torture and violence, women and children at risk and those in need of medical care, although clarification is still required about how health and social care costs will be met.
The UK Government provides funding to support reception costs, education and English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) provision.
Councillors will be told other issues to be considered are whether the refugees should be resettled in one place or across South Lanarkshire and whether accommodating those in greatest need will risk in greater pressure on local services.
The report states: “It is impossible to say at the moment how many people SLC may be able to accommodate because of the issues about access to services and families and relatives wanting to be near one another.”
We need to know what kind of housing they will need
Volunteers Ross Galbraith, Ronnie Campbell and Tommy Todd preparing the supplies Stranded
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