THE UK Government is being urged to use around 100 unused homes, formerly used as accommodation for Ministry of Defence (MoD) staff, to house refugees fleeing the situation in Afghanistan.

The homes, mostly situated around Prestwick Airport, have been left empty ever since the helicopter search and rescue operation HMS Gannet was decommissioned in 2016.

Earlier this year it was revealed that 10,661 MoD homes were empty across the UK, with 871 unused in Scotland.

Siobhian Brown (below), SNP MSP for Ayr, has said the empty houses can be used to house families in South Ayrshire and that the area is ready to accept and welcome Afghan families.

The National:

READ MORE: MoD contractor faces £1.5m payout over botched redundancy process

Brown said: “The UK Government should be maximising every opportunity it can to find a home for Afghan refugees fleeing a horrific situation. In South Ayrshire, we currently have around 100 homes that are still owned by the MoD but no-one has lived in them for at least five years.

“This is an opportunity for the UK Government to show its compassion for refugees coming from Afghanistan that they are able to provide them a safe and warm home where they can start to rebuild their lives.

“The UK Government must take its share of the responsibility for creating this situation and using disused MoD homes will provide them with an option for a number of families who have had their lives turned upside down.

READ MORE: Housing firm to consider providing quality homes for refugees in Glasgow

“Boris Johnson should commit to increasing the number of refugees that the UK brings in and maximising unused sites like the one at Prestwick Airport will allow the UK to take in more refugees and take responsibility for the situation.”

The figure of 871 empty military homes in Scotland - which have their upkeep paid by the taxpayer - was uncovered through a Freedom of Information request at the beginning of this year. It was down from 1087 in 2019 and 1129 in 2018.

A report by the Public Accounts committee two years ago described the failure by the MoD to reduce its empty housing stock as "scandalous" as Scotland and the rest of the UK faces a housing shortage.