Council ready to welcome more refugees

Displaced Syrians driving through Hazano in the northern countryside of Idlib, after fleeing on January 28. Pic:  Getty Images
Displaced Syrians driving through Hazano in the northern countryside of Idlib, after fleeing on January 28. Pic: Getty Images

Councillors in South Lanarkshire have welcomed a move to participate in a new refugee resettlement scheme.

The Home Office is set to introduce a Global Resettlement Programme in April to replace a number of refugee schemes in the UK, including the Syrian Refugee Resettlement Programme.

Up to 30 refugees from across the globe could be coming to South Lanarkshire in the next year after the council’s executive committee agreed to the proposals.

Executive director for housing and technical resources, Danny Lowe told the committee that would represent eight to 10 families.

He added: “The Syrian Refugee Resettlement Programme has been a great success.

“The UK Government has reaffirmed its commitment to the resettlement of refugees.

“A new Global Resettlement Programme will be introduced from April 2020.

“The Home Office confirmed that they propose to settle 5000 refugees, UK wide, through the new programme within the first year 2020/21.

“This figure equates to the current level of resettlement UK wide within the Syrian programme.”

He added that the cost of the resettlement programme is borne entirely by the Home Office.

Council leader John Ross took “much pleasure” in endorsing the recommendations.

Councillor Katy Loudon added she was “delighted” that the existing refugee resettlement team would be added to the council’s permanent workforce.

Home Office funding will also allow two additional jobs to be created.

Labour group leader Joe Fagan said: “On behalf of the Labour group, I’d like to express our support for the programme.”

Leader of the Conservative group Alex Allison added: “To us, it is just a few sheets of paper in a report but to the individuals it is worth a huge deal more.”

Introduced in 2015 in reaction to the Syrian Civil War, the Syrian Refugee Resettlement Programme has helped 47 families – 173 people in total – escape the violence by coming to South Lanarkshire.

More than 115,000 civilians have been killed as a result of the civil war which has forced more than 12.5 million people to flee since it began in March 2011.

Up to 5000 refugees from countries in North Africa, the Middle East and anywhere else should the need arise would be resettled in the UK.