Refugees to arrive in the new year

A family of Syrian refugees cry and comfort each other after a rough and scary crossing from Turkey
A family of Syrian refugees cry and comfort each other after a rough and scary crossing from Turkey

The first of 40 Syrian refugees are expected to arrive in the new year with a view to starting a new life in Midlothian.

All Scottish local authorities have agreed to work with the Scottish government and the Home Office to see a further 20,000 refugees resettled in the UK from camps on the borders of Syria.

It is estimated around 2,000 refugees will come to Scotland with Midlothian accepting around 40 people over five years.

Midlothian Council the council is confident it can offer housing to the refugees without impacting on council housing allocations.

No decisions have been made on specific areas in which to house the arrivals but councillors heard that Pentland House, Penicuik, and Midfield House, Lasswade, were both suitable properties.

Council Leader Councillor Catherine Johnstone (SNP) said: “We’ve all seen the harrowing images of the conflict in Syria on television and social media.

“I’m sure everyone in Midlothian, therefore, shares our grave concerns about the plight of refugees trying to escape this horrendous war and persecution.

“We have a moral duty to help those in need who have lost their homes, their livelihoods, their communities and often their loved ones too.”

Advertiser readers took to Facebook to comment on the proposals.

Laura Mcintyre said: “I have a 10year old son and still living with my parents and am going up the housing list not down.. Where is my help?? Oh wait its because i work full time and pay my taxes like a good women ... System is all wrong.”

David Maltman continued: “Around 40 people over 5 years, that’s 8 people per year on average in an area with around 83,000 people. An annual population increase of 0.009%. You really think you’ll feel under strain? All of you saying “send them back”, would you go to Syria just now? Or if your houses were being bombed and your family killed, would you just stay where you were, like you’re suggesting these people do? Get a grip and some perspective.”