SNP accused of ‘posturing’ on help for refugees

THE Scottish Government has been accused of “posturing but not delivering” on help for refugees. 

The Labour Party said the SNP had dropped a manifesto pledge to create Scotland’s first “cities of refuge.”

The vow committed the government to working with local authorities to ensure “Scotland is a welcoming place for writers and artists fleeing violence and persecution.”

However, in a response to a written question at Holyrood, ministers said work on this had not yet started and would take place later in the parliamentary term. 

In her answer, Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison said: “The  development of cities of refuge will align with the approach of our New Scots refugee integration strategy, which sets out the vision of a welcoming Scotland, where people seeking protection are supported to rebuild their lives from the day they arrive.”

Labour MSP Sarah Boyack said: “The SNP’s decision to kick this policy into the long grass is another blow to their claims to be standing up for refugees.

“As is so often the case with this timid government, they are posturing but not delivering.

“We need to lead the way in actions as well as words when it comes to welcoming refugees to Scotland.

“The SNP must stop dragging their heels and deliver this pledge with the urgency and ambition needed.”

Earlier this month, the Scottish Government announced it was pausing its super-sponsor scheme for Ukrainian refugees due to high demand and a lack of suitable accommodation. 

The Government said pausing the scheme would “ensure that those displaced people who are already here, and those who will arrive in the coming months, will be safe, secure and supported for as long as they need.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The welfare of all displaced Ukrainians staying in Scotland remains our absolute priority.

“Scotland is currently providing sanctuary for more than 8,000 people, two-thirds of whom applied under the Scottish super sponsor scheme, with more expected to arrive over the summer.

“This exceeds the 3,000 which the Scottish Government committed to welcome when the scheme launched in March, to provide a rapid route to safety for those fleeing the crisis caused by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

“The Scottish Government is prioritising support for recent arrivals, including displaced Ukrainians.

“As set out in the New Scots refugee integration strategy, we have a tried and tested approach to integrating refugees into our communities, schools and workplaces.

“Nonetheless, we will continue to seek to improve our approach where we can.”

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