The Scottish Government has been accused of “betraying” Ukrainian refugees after figures indicated more than 7,500 remain in temporary accommodation in the country.
Around one third of the 23,000 Ukrainian refugees the Scottish Refugee Council said have arrived in Scotland since the Russian invasion in February 2022 are waiting for a permanent home, according to responses to freedom of information (FOI) requests.
Responses obtained from 31 out of Scotland’s 32 councils have indicated that there are 7,596 Ukrainian refugees in temporary accommodation, 1,862 of which are children.
The local authority with the highest number of Ukrainian refugees in temporary accommodation was Edinburgh City Council with 2,945, of which 823 are children, followed by Glasgow with 2,058, of which 288 are aged under 18.
Inverclyde Council did not respond to the request for information, while Fife Council indicated it does not hold the requested data.
The figures come from FOI requests from the Scottish Conservatives after reports of one Ukrainian family which had settled in Fife being moved to temporary accommodation 130 miles away in Dumfries.
The party’s housing and social justice spokesman Miles Briggs said: “The fact that so many thousands of Ukrainian refugees are still holed up in temporary accommodation more than a year after the first of them arrived in Scotland is unacceptable.
“It represents a shocking betrayal by an SNP government that overpromises and underdelivers.
“These are vulnerable people who fled Putin’s brutal invasion of their homeland, and they have been woefully let down by ministers.”
He highlighted the Scottish Government’s Super Sponsor Scheme having been on pause since July 2022, claiming that the government had “overestimated their ability to cope with the number of refugees”.
Briggs added: “Despite the fact that, under their watch, Scotland already had a drastic shortage of housing – exacerbated by their interference in the rental market – they made entirely unrealistic promises which they were unable to keep.
“As a result, families have been shunted around or kept in accommodation that isn’t suitable for the long term.
“That is a shameful way to treat people who want simply to get on with their lives in peace, and to whom the SNP government held out false hope.”
Meanwhile, funding has been renewed for a campaign to help vulnerable people apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
Through the Stay in Scotland campaign, in partnership with the Citizens’ Rights Project, council umbrella body Cosla and Settled, an independent charity helping EU citizens to stay in the UK, more than £200,000 is available to help the applicants.
Migration minister Emma Roddick said: “As we continue to build the case for an independent Scotland within the EU, additional funding for the Stay in Scotland campaign will help ensure EU citizens, particularly those who need assistance with complex applications, get the support they need to gain settled status.
“We’re also urging the Home Office to immediately upgrade everyone from pre-settled to settled status. This would help remove the unnecessary stress and anxiety of being forced to reapply to the EUSS.”