Fifers pledge support for refugees

Fife councillors show their support for refugees
Fife councillors show their support for refugees
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Fife’s councillors have vowed to do what they can to help aid agencies and other organisations support refugees fleeing war-torn countries.

They have praised the local groups and individuals who have been working together to send emergency supplies to those caught up in the humanitarian crisis.

And they will welcome any refugees from Syria and other war-torn Middle Eastern countries who come to the Kingdom looking for a safe place to rebuild their lives.

Meetings have already taken place with the Fife Migrants Forum, Fife Centre for Equalities and other organisations to consider how best to help in both the short and longer term.

Speaking at Thursday’s full council meeting, leader David Ross said: “I have written to the Prime Minister and First Minister offering Fife’s assistance and asking for urgent talks on how we can best work with UK and Scottish Governments to provide our help.

“Here in Fife we have been welcoming and supporting refugees from countries including Afghanistan, Uganda and Kosovo for over 30 years, so we are not strangers to this issue. We are committed to helping those in greatest need and helping them to rebuild their lives here.

“I know local people will join me in making anyone who does settle here very welcome.”

Councillor Brian Goodall, SNP group leader, also recognised the efforts of the many Fifers who have been considering what support they could give any refugees coming here.

“We may end up making only a modest contribution relative to the massive scale of this international crisis, but for the few who end up being with us here in Fife, let us be that most vital refuge, that place of safety and that new hope in a new home.”

Councillor Tim Brett, Liberal Democrat group leader, echoed those sentiments.

He said: “I know there will be people who will be worried about housing, jobs, school places etc, but the numbers who will be coming will be relatively small and I’m sure we can make room for them.”

There are no definitive numbers yet in terms of how many refugees could come to the Kingdom.

Nationally there has been a commitment to help 20,000 people, so it’s expected Fife could welcome around 140 people over the next four years. It’s not known yet whether these will be families, single people, or children who have lost their parents.

Government grants will be made available to reduce any impact on council budgets.

The council is also urging the private and social rented housing sectors to offer whatever accommodation they can to minimise impact on available council housing.

The council is collating any offers of accommodation at www.fifedirect.gov.uk/heretohelp.