The Scottish Government is refusing to take asylum seekers arriving in the UK on small boats, a Home Office minister has claimed.
Robert Jenrick, the UK’s immigration minister, said that only Glasgow is pulling its “fair share” by taking asylum seekers in Scotland.
Meanwhile, “only a dozen” hotels outside of Glasgow are taking asylum seekers, according to the Conservative MP, who was appointed to the role in October by Rishi Sunak.
The issue was raised in the House of Commons on Wednesday, after it was earlier ruled that the UK Government’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda is lawful.
Legal action had been brought by charities and asylum seekers over the proposals, which were first announced by Priti Patel in April this year.
Alison Thewliss, the SNP’s home affairs spokesperson, told the minister that local authorities are “reticent” to take in more people due to insufficient funding for asylum provision.
“Today in Scotland, in contrast to the rest of the United Kingdom, only one city is pulling its fair share and taking asylum seekers, and that is Glasgow,” Jenrick told MPs.
“There’s only a dozen hotels outside of Glasgow in the whole of Scotland taking asylum seekers. This isn’t fair and equitable.”
Thewliss hit back at Jenrick over the claims as she pointed to funding concerns.
She said: “Local authorities in Scotland are reticent to take more because the UK Government isn’t funding asylum seeker provision properly and pressed budgets due to another round of austerity are coming down the road. He knows that just fine.”
Jenrick suggested there is a “widening gulf” between the Scottish Government’s action and rhetoric.
He responded: “The problem with the current system is that it is too bureaucratic. We want to simplify that.
“We want to speed up those decisions. We want to make sure the teams are more productive.”
The Home Office minister added: “The Scottish Government are refusing to take any of the asylum seekers who are arriving in the UK on small boats. That is not right.
“There is a widening gulf between the actions of the Scottish Government and their rhetoric.”
Jenrick acknowledged the challenges in providing accommodation for those entering the UK.
Responding to Conservative MP Marco Longhi, he said: “The UK is essentially full.
“It is extremely hard to find new hotels or other forms of accommodation.”