Refugee crisis: Glasgow becomes first UK city to accept new cohort of Syrian asylum seekers

The city council has made an agreement with the Home Office to identify 63 people from refugee camps in Lebanon and Iraq

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The Independent Online

Glasgow will become the first British city to accept Syrian refugees since the current crisis began with dozens set to arrive before Christmas.

The city council has made an agreement with the Home Office to identify 63 people from refugee camps in Lebanon and Iraq. Families are expected to travel to Scotland to begin a new life later this month.

Accommodation and services are in place following weeks of negotiations to ensure the city is ready for the new arrivals.

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David Cameron came under sustained pressure after images of three-year-old Aylan washed up on a beach were published around the world.

Duncan Campsie, from the city council's Asylum and Refugee Service, said although Glasgow is currently willing and able to help a longer-term plan was needed. Current UK government funding is handed out on the basis of each group of people.

Mr Campsie said: “We need to speak to the Home Office for funding. It needs to be a five year thing. It's not just about taking the numbers in and putting them in a flat. It's schools, health, benefit arrangements.

”We will continue to do our bit.“

Gonzalo Vargas Llosa, UK representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees praised Scotland for its efforts.

He said: ”Long before the tragic picture of little Aylan forced many European leaders to take a more humane approach there were senior politicians asking for this to happen. That takes courage and we appreciate it. In that sense Scotland has led and others have followed.“

David Cameron came under sustained pressure after images of three-year-old Aylan washed up on a beach were published around the world.

Within days the Prime Minister said the UK could accept 20,000 refugees over the next five years but critics still said the number was too low. Germany has pledged to accept 800,000 refugees.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities said all 32 local authorities had agreed a co-ordinates response to the humanitarian crisis.

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