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Action on child refugees

Published: 6 Oct 2016 15:30

Partnership working with CoSLA continues.

Work to bring child refugees to Scotland is to be stepped up after the Scottish Government and CoSLA leaders agreed to host a discussion on the issue.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced at CoSLA's annual conference that a roundtable discussion would take place to look at what more can be done to reunite refugee children with their families living in Scotland.

She praised the partnership work that has been done between local authorities and the Scottish Government on refugees, with more than 1000 people resettled in almost all local authority areas in a year.

In her speech to the conference at Crieff Hydro Hotel, the First Minister said: "The efforts of local authorities, their partner organisations and local communities are to be commended in their work to make Scotland a safe and welcoming place for migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.

"The fact that 1000 people can now call Scotland their home thanks to the Syrian Resettlement Scheme demonstrates the success of this joint working.

"However, the refugee crisis has not gone away. People are still fleeing the continued violence in Syria and other countries. Scotland has shown that it can help, but we need to do more. I have been moved by the plight of child refugees, and we must ensure those with family in the UK are reunited with them as quickly as possible. That is what we and our local authority partners want to happen.

"The Scottish Government and CoSLA will be convening a roundtable to take forward this work and ensure that we all do the best we can for these children, who need a safe place, where they can get back into education, rebuild their lives and fulfil their potential."

The First Minister also praised other examples of partnership working with local authorities, for example on Adult Social Care workers receiving the Living Wage, progress on city deals and Brexit.

She added: All of those examples demonstrate a fundamental truth about the relationship between the Scottish government and local government. We share the same ambitions – for stronger communities, a fairer society, a thriving economy.

"Our differences can be deep and heartfelt, but far more unites us than divides us. We know CoSLA is an essential and equal partner in creating a fairer and more prosperous Scotland. We will always be committed to working together with local authorities."

CoSLA president Councillor David O'Neill said:

"Scottish councils have shown their commitment to humanitarian work around the Syrian refugee resettlement scheme.

"We are fully committed to working with the Scottish Government on this issue and want to see children reunited with their families wherever they are in the UK."