McAvoy’s 60 pledge

Leader: Hous­ing an is­sue

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Dou­glas Dickie

South La­nark­shire could ac­cept “around 60” refugees, ac­cord­ing to coun­cil leader Ed­die McAvoy.

The leader of the au­thor­ity said they were still wait­ing on de­tails from the gov­ern­ment, but said he un­der­stood some peo­ple’s op­po­si­tion to refugees mov­ing to the area.

South La­nark­shire Coun­cil leader Ed­die McAvoy reck­ons the au­thor­ity can ac­cept around 60 refugees from Syria.

Coun­cil­lor McAvoy was speak­ing the week af­ter we re­vealed that Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang could be asked to play their part in hous­ing peo­ple flee­ing the mid­dle east.

The is­sue sparked fierce de­bate on our Face­book page.

Many said refugees would put ad­di­tional pres­sure on an al­ready de­pleted hous­ing stock and that more should be done to help home­less peo­ple al­ready here be­fore at­ten­tion is turned to those ar­riv­ing from out­with the coun­try.

Coun­cil­lor McAvoy said he could un­der­stand peo­ple’s con­cerns: “I think that (hous­ing) is a prob­lem, and we’ve got to try and con­vince peo­ple. It’s a very emo­tional sit­u­a­tion.

“What you have got to un­der­stand is we al­ready have 18,000 peo­ple on the wait­ing list. They wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily be housed in our homes, we may look at the pri­vate sec­tor.

“There may be peo­ple ar­riv­ing in­jured or with men­tal health prob­lems, so we need to work out med­i­cal ar­range­ments as well.

“As far as I am con­cerned, those com­ing here will need to be ac­tual refugees, who are flee­ing war- torn coun­tries.

“You would hope the fil­ter­ing sys­tem from the Home Of­fice and the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment would do that when peo­ple ar­rive.

“We could take roughly 60, but we are still wait­ing on the de­tails, and that will be over a pe­riod of time.”

Re­former read­ers took to our so­cial media pages to dis­cuss the is­sue.

Ch­eryl Bar­rett said: “I couldn’t and still can’t get a coun­cil house in my area as I’m not pri­or­ity, I have lived here all my life. How can they jus­tify hous­ing peo­ple who turn up from another coun­try be­fore peo­ple from this coun­try?

Diane Lowrie added: “I work full time like most peo­ple and fam­i­lies and can’t get a coun­cil house and had no choice but to go pri­vate so my opin­ion is they should get there pri­or­i­ties right first be­fore hous­ing refugees.”

How­ever, there was sup­port for bring­ing refugees to the area.

Co­lette Boyd said: “I would hap­pily take a fam­ily into our home. I hope all the peo­ple say­ing char­ity be­gins at home ac­tu­ally do some­thing about it.”

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