Harper welcomes moves to support Ukraine's refugees

South Scotland MSP, Emma Harper, has welcomed and echoed the calls from Scotland’s First Minister to allow Scotland to become a “Super-Sponsor” of Ukrainian people who are fleeing the Russian invasion.

By Brian Yule
Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 8:32 pm
More than 2.5m have fled since Russia invaded Ukraine  (Photo by LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images)

In a joint letter sent to the UK Government, both the Scottish and Welsh First Ministers have called on the Prime Minister to urgently provide further clarity on how the UK Government’s proposed community sponsorship scheme will work, and they have offered both nations as ‘Super-Sponsors’.

The letter makes clear that no cap should be set by Scotland and Wales on the numbers of refugees they will welcome.

This proposed scheme would enable Ukrainians to get clearance to come to Scotland or Wales quickly and be accommodated temporarily, while the Scottish and Welsh governments then work with local partners to provide longer term accommodation and access to services.

Sign up to our daily The Galloway Gazette Today newsletter

Ms Harper has also thanked the many constituents who have contacted her to offer their homes to refugee families, and she has pointed constituents to the Dumfries and Galloway Council resilience team who will be responsible for coordinating a database of volunteers.

Ms Harper – who has previously called on the UK Government to support refugees to enter the UK first and deal with the beaurocracy later – has also welcomed the announcement from the Scottish Government that it would like to support 3,000 refugees in the initial wave.

However, she emphasised that it is now up to the UK Government to accept this offer.

Ms Harper said: “The illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russia continues to cause deep concern.

"While important action is being taken by the UK against the Russian Regime, the UK Government is falling short on its humanitarian response – with only 4000 refugees visas issued – while more than 2.5 million Ukrainian people have fled the country.

“I welcome that the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales have made the case to the UK Government for Scotland and Wales to be ’super sponsors' of Ukrainian families to allow those fleeing war to come to Scotland more quickly.

“Many constituents have contacted me asking what they can do to help. The advice is that financial donations are welcome and can be made to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Ukraine Appeal.

"I have also been contacted by constituents who would like to offer accommodation to people coming from Ukraine. Should this be the case, constituents can contact the Dumfries and Galloway Council’s resilience team.

"A huge heartfelt thank you goes out from me to all constituents who have offered to open their hearts and homes to our European neighbours who are fleeing their homes and who are seeking refuge.”