Council double down on support of refugees

Shetland Islands Council has reiterated its support for some of the world’s most vulnerable citizens with a motion in response to the ‘heart-breaking events’ in Afghanistan.

Authored by councillors Ryan Thomson and John Fraser the motion calls for the council to agree that “Shetland has a responsibility to play its part in welcoming those fleeing persecution”, “to provide temporary accommodation and welcome Afghan refugees for permanent resettlement in Shetland and “agrees to explore all avenues to secure appropriate accommodation, without putting pressure on
existing demand for social housing”.

Presented to council members during today’s (Wednesday, 8th September) full council meeting, Mr Thomson said: “I don’t think there is anyone in the world that isn’t shocked and appalled by the evolving humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

“The real truth is the people that the UK has brought into this country, all 15,000 of them, the majority have nothing but clothes on their backs. Charities are struggling to cope, they need additional space, resources and help from government and local councils like us.”

He added: “We must not stand ready to help in whatever way we can, but we must be proactive in helping anyway we can.”

A pro-active measure included in the motion requires the SIC to write to the UK government to request an increase in the number of Afghan refugees welcomed to Britain beyond the initial commitment of 20,000 over five years.

Risks to the council were also discussed with three potentially problematic risk factors having been recently removed.

They are the successful conclusion of the colleges merger, the report that the pension fund will be fully funded by 2027 and the encouraging improvement of council workers in relation to job conditions and satisfaction.

Other items discussed during the two hour meeting included various approvals of plans and financial outlines discussed during other committee meetings over the past week.

A full report on all of this week’s SIC meetings will appear in this week’s Shetland Times, out Friday.



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