Lib Dems call for national scheme to give bus passes to Ukrainian refugees

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has called for the Scottish Government to fund travel cards for refugees who are trying to establish a new life for themselves in Scotland.

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And he said the government should also provide Ukrainian refugee children heading for Scottish schools after the summer break with “back to school backpacks”, containing all the necessary equipment for starting their education here, from uniforms to school supplies.

He said: “Scotland is at a critical moment as we welcome hundreds of Ukrainian refugees who have escaped the unimaginable horrors of a war that continues to rumble on.

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“The Scottish Government must commit to helping refugees rebuild their lives here. Access to transport is vital because it allows refugees to take up jobs, get to school and keep in touch with family and friends.”

He said in Orkney, the bus company Stagecoach had agreed to fund bus passes for Ukrainian refugees for an initial three-month period, but at present there was no national scheme in place.

Mr Cole-Hamilton, MSP for Edinburgh Western, said: “Councils are doing the best they can to support people, but their budgets have been cut year after year. That is why I am calling on the Scottish Government to fund a nationwide bus travel scheme to give Ukrainian refugees at least three months’ free travel.

“The people of Scotland have generously opened their homes and shown their love for the people of Ukraine, but the government’s response has been slow and bureaucratic. They must take pragmatic steps to support the futures and families of our refugees.”



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