Call made for Midlothian to help refugees

Cllr Jim Bryant who has put forward a motion calling on Midlothian Councill to do more for refugees
Cllr Jim Bryant who has put forward a motion calling on Midlothian Councill to do more for refugees

Council officers have been asked to look into how Midlothian can help refugees, both with accommodation and immediate aid.

At this week’s full council meeting, councillor Jim Bryant (SNP) raised the issue in a motion about refugees trying to reach Europe to escape war and persecution.

In his motion he called on officers to investigate and report on the likelihood of making some settled or emergency accommodation available for refugees. And he asked if the council could act as a central point for donations.

Councillor Bryant believes we have a moral duty to do all we can to help refugees.

Speaking to the Advertiser prior to his motion being heard on Tuesday, he said: “I just want to express the fact that we should be doing something and I want the officers to go and do a few things.

“Like to see what accommodation is available and how items can be delivered by a third party.

“Obviously we can’t take hundreds of people but we can take some. Accommodation is the issue though. That’s one problem that we have.

“And, I would appreciate churches and others using us as a focal point for donations. That might work.

“Someone has got to take charge. I’m prepared and quite happy to do it.”

Like millions of people across the world Councillor Bryant has been shocked by some of the images of refugees desperately trying to get to Europe.

He said: “Surely is it not the Christian thing to help people that are destitute?

“I think most people will feel that we have to do something. That picture of the little boy on the beach was just horrendous.

“That crystallised in my mind putting this motion forward. But I had been thinking about it for a while.

“How sad is it that the world is in such a state? It seems like it’s never improving- constituents of mine that I know having to use foodbanks. It’s heart wrenching. It’s quite difficult.”