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Scotland and Wales call for expansion in resettlement programme through a joint letter

Since the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme began in 2015 almost a quarter of those helped are moved to the North of the UK. This is a reported 1,800 people out of 7,055 people over a 2-year span. These figures come in as both the Welsh and Scottish Governments call for the increase in the number of lone children resettled. Both Governments sent a joint letter to the UK Government expressing their frustration about the way the resettlement programme has been introduced and is running.

The letter was signed by Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, Angela Constance and Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant. They also backed calls to expand the criteria and not exclude those of a different age and nationality.

SNP MSP Ben Macpherson said: “It’s excellent that Scotland has welcomed over a quarter of those Syrian refugees who have arrived in the UK, under the resettlement programme, since 2015. But more needs to be done – in what is an off-the-scale humanitarian crisis that’s difficult to comprehend here at home. A recent all-party inquiry revealed that the UK public would not tolerate the UK Government turning away from this humanitarian crisis if they were more aware of what was happening. It also reported that UK ministers have done “as little as legally possible” to help unaccompanied lone children who have fled war and conflict, which has left them vulnerable to trafficking.

They also said, “It’s time for the UK Government to significantly step up its refugee resettlement efforts in the midst of what is possibly the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.”