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Scottish government to cut funds for housing Ukrainian refugees

by Abbey Fenbert January 6, 2024 1:50 AM 2 min read
Members of the performing group Freedom Ballet of Ukraine in front of the vessel MS Victoria in the Port of Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland, on Aug. 24, 2022. The MS Victoria provided temporary housing for Ukrainian refugees invited to Scotland. (Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)
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The Scottish government will not renew the £10 million in funding it initially granted to local councils to support Ukrainian refugee resettlement, the Scotsman reported Jan. 5.

The government distributed £10 million last year to Scotland's regional councils to help set Ukrainian refugees up in short-term accommodations, such as hotels and cruise ships.

Shortly before Christmas, Scotland informed local authorities it could not renew the funding this year due to financial difficulties.

Representatives from the Edinburgh City Council called the decision a "betrayal."

"After everything we have collectively done to support thousands of people who have suffered through so much, we are shocked at this decision, which affects families starting a new life here in Scotland," said Mandy Watt, deputy leader of Edinburgh City Council.

Councilmembers have warned that they may have to withdraw staff and support from hotels providing short-term housing to Ukrainian refugees. Representatives are planning to discuss their concerns in a meeting next week with MP Shirley-Anne Somerville, social justice secretary and member of Scotland's ruling Scottish National Party (SNP).

"It would be a betrayal if the SNP failed to live up to its lofty rhetoric from the early days of this crisis and broke their promises to those fleeing this awful war," said Labour MP Mark Griffin.

Alex Cole-Hamilton, who leads Scotland's Liberal Democrats and hosted a refugee from Ukraine after the invasion, also criticized the decision.

"It seems like the SNP got their press release and photo call, so they don't care about Ukrainian refugees anymore," he said.

Irish media reported in December that the government of Ireland plans to significantly reduce the benefits offered to Ukrainian refugees, cutting welfare payments and limiting housing provisions.

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