More refugees in Scotland forced to apply for emergency funding, charity says

The number of refugees living in Scotland forced to turn to a charity for 'last resort' funding has rocketed in the past year, new figures have shown.

Refugees who are living in Scotland have been forced to turn to emergency handouts.
Refugees who are living in Scotland have been forced to turn to emergency handouts.

The Glasgow-based Refugee Survival Trust handed out urgent funding worth £44,526 to 520 refugees in the first half of this year, compared to just £25,000 to 370 people in the same period two years ago. Just under 200 children were among the applicants this year.

UK requirements which mean a refugee who needs to make a new asylum claim must travel to Liverpool to do so has forced many poverty-stricken refugees to turn to the charity for help, the RST said.

Meanwhile, the figures showed that this year has seen a significant increase in the number of Iranians looking for urgent help, with more than one in five of all applicants coming from Iran.

The report said: “Our Destitution Grants are always given as a ‘last resort’ and it remains a significant concern to the RST that so many refugee and asylum seeker children are destitute and that their families are not receiving other forms of support.”

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Zoe Halliday, coordinator of the RST said: "We at the Refugee Survival Trust find it deeply concerning that numbers of asylum seekers and refugees seeking our help continues to rise. Our Destitution Grants are a form of last resort aid, when no other support is available. It is clear that Scotland is letting down many people who seek refuge here."

Almost half of Destitution Grant applicants were homeless at the time of application, compared to just 28 per cent in the same period in 2016-17.

The report added that preliminary figures for the second half of the year saw a huge surge in the number of applications, with 172 awarded to a total value of £14,281.

The RST is dependent on donations from individuals and trusts.