Below is a briefing from the Council on plans that are being drawn up to accommodate Afghan refugees in Edinburgh. I am mindful that military personnel based in my Ward served in Afghanistan, and some gave their lives (there is a memorial inside Dreghorn Barracks). These service men and women may well have worked with the refugees previously employed by the British Services detailed below. Helping these families is the very least we can do.
Members will be aware of the recent deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan and press reports of the various ways in which the UK Government is responding to its humanitarian implications.
Officers are in regular contact with both the UK and Scottish Governments to develop plans for how best the Council and our partners can offer support and housing to as many Afghan refugees as possible.
Two options are currently being progressed:
- Permanent resettlement for a cohort of Afghans (and their families) previously employed by the British Services in Afghanistan is being explored. They would be housed in surplus MOD property. Agreement on leasing from the MOD is still to be reached but is being progressed as a matter of urgency.
- The Home Office has indicated (via COSLA) that, due to the pressure of numbers now being resettled, it intends to move forward with plans to procure hotel accommodation in Edinburgh.
Due to the speed with which plans are being developed, details – including exact numbers and locations – are still to be confirmed.
Work will continue with the Home Office and partners and particularly services such as education and health to coordinate arrival and support planning.
We’ll provide a further update once more details become available.