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Scotland's response to refugee crisis

Published: 7 Sep 2015 17:27

Minister for International Development to chair 1st meeting of taskforce.

The Scottish Government has repeatedly called on the UK Government to play a part in a co-ordinated European response to this emergency humanitarian issue and has agreed to take a fair and proportionate share of refugees in Scotland.

Following today's comments by the Prime Minister that the UK will take 20,000 refugees by 2020 which will be funded through the UK aid budget, Humza Yousaf, Scotland's Minister for Europe and International Development, said:

"As made clear by the First Minister at last week's emergency humanitarian summit, Scotland is willing to take our fair share of refugees to help some of the most vulnerable people in need.

"We welcome the Prime Minister's shift in attitude and late recognition that the UK has a role to play as an important first step. The 20,000 refugees over five years should not be seen as a cap or an upper limit and we must also play our part in responding to the crisis on the southern European coast line.

"We believe that the UK Should opt in to the EU relocation scheme and while the Prime Minister has made clear that the year one resettlement will be funded from the UK international aid budget, we seek urgent clarification on the impact that this will have on the work of existing aid projects.

"The refugee situation is at crisis point now and stretching UK support and refugee intake over the next five years means a number of people who could be helped immediately will be left without the vital help they need.

"We want to work constructively with the UK Government and the First Minister has again, today, written to the Prime Minster outlining the proceedings of Friday's summit which focused on looking at some of the practical issues involved in integrating those who come here to seek protection.

"Today, I met with the Scottish Refugee Council to discuss the immediate service provision required to take in refugees and tomorrow I will chair the first meeting of the taskforce which will bring together stakeholders from across Scotland in the areas of local government, housing, health services, language support, transport and social services and will co-ordinate Scotland's humanitarian and practical response.

"This is first and foremost a humanitarian crisis and it requires a humanitarian response. The overwhelming support we have seen from the Scottish people over the past few days shows our willingness to help the most vulnerable in the world."