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Project team for DG refugee response

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale

DUMFRIES and Galloway is preparing to welcome refugees to the region it was confirmed this week, as it emerged Scotland will take in 1000 people.

And a new project team will meet today to co-ordinate the official local response and preparations.
Dumfries and Galloway Council leader Ronnie Nicholson gave an update on the situation to councillors on Tuesday.
He said: “Based on the current UK Government policy, it is estimated that approximately 1000 refugees will be settled in Scotland, although how the actual allocation will be determined is still subject to discussion at a national level. It is, therefore, likely that all council areas will host some refugees.
“The exact number that may be hosted within our own region is being discussed with national Government through CoSLA.
“I will be attending the CoSLA Leaders’ meeting on Friday where there will be further discussion. At that meeting I will make clear that Dumfries and Galloway Council stands ready to play our part. Helping innocent vulnerable people flee persecution through no fault of their own is the right thing to do.”
He has pledged regular updates on the region’s response and any actions required.
Mr Nicholson also looked ahead to what will be needed when the refugees arrive and said: “We need to be clear this is not a short term housing allocation project. No matter how well meaning the offers, for example, of spare rooms for people may be, what we really need to do is put in place a sustained long term effort to support refugees who settle here into Scottish society and crucially provide them with the assistance they need, be it medical or otherwise.
“The strict criteria placed on the people who will ultimately be allowed to settle here by the UK Government means we will be dealing with some of the most vulnerable people, often with very complex care needs, over a long period of time.”

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