Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today urged the Scottish Government to urgently issue a new call for hosts and give local authorities more money to help them vet households.
His call comes as Scottish Liberal Democrats reveal that after four months, almost 700 hosts had still to be vetted.
The Scottish Government has confirmed that almost another 20,000 refugees could arrive in Scotland.
On 8th July, Scottish Liberal Democrats asked every local authority for the number of checks completed, underway, uncompleted and the number of Ukrainian refugees in temporary accommodation.
The responses reveal:
- At least 699 hosts have had no home check
- 2,437 refugees are in temporary accommodation and Scottish Government sponsored hotels
- Midlothian had completed just 8 checks, with 68 outstanding
- South Ayrshire had completed 55 checks, with 143 underway or outstanding
The Scottish Government’s super-sponsor scheme opened on 18 March 2022 and was paused on 11 July 2022 with the Scottish Government promising to review it in October.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“Anyone you speak to with insider knowledge of the refugee scheme admits that vetting has been too slow.
“My wife and I know personally that it took months between signing up for the scheme and anyone reaching out.
“The result of that is refugees being crammed into temporary accommodation and the prospect of them being stranded in sports halls as winter comes around.
“This is obviously a fast-moving set of circumstances, but a fresh public call for homes and more support for councils to vet hosts could make a big difference in capitalising on the good will that the people of Scotland have shown.
“I would not be in the least bit surprised if the super sponsor scheme never reopened.
“That’s the sad but inevitable consequence of a government that prioritises good press over getting the details right.”