AN Edinburgh MSP has joined calls for empty homes owned by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to be used to house refugees fleeing the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

Gordon MacDonald, the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands, said that there are 160 unused MoD homes in the city, mostly around Redford Barracks.

The homes have been empty for "numerous" years, according to MacDonald, despite repeated calls for them to be brought into use.

It comes after Ayr MSP Siobhian Brown said on Monday that around 100 homes in her constituency could be used to house refugees fleeing Afghanistan.

MacDonald (below) said: “It’s not right that these homes lie empty and it is in the gift of the UK Government to put them to good use.”

The National:

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

The upkeep of the empty homes is paid for by the taxpayer.

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.

READ MORE: UK must go 'further and faster' on Afghan refugees, says city council

MacDonald said: “For years now, I have been doing everything I can to get the empty MoD homes in my constituency – and right across Scotland – to be used to help people whose lives would benefit immensely from being housed in the properties. Yet again, we see another example where the UK Government could make the most of the hundreds of empty properties across our country.

“The situation in Afghanistan is truly horrific. The refugees are fleeing a horrific situation and we need to be doing everything we can to accept our responsibility and help those who arrive in this country.

“In Edinburgh, we are ready to accept and welcome Afghan families – and as we currently have around 160 homes that are still owned by the MoD but no one has lived in them for at least five years, it seems like a missed opportunity to not use this housing to house refugees in safe and warm homes where they can start to rebuild their lives.

WATCH: SNP MPs fume after Tory's 'nonsense' claim about refugees in Scotland

“Boris Johnson should commit to maximising these unused sites like the one at Redford Barracks to allow the UK to take in more refugees, who have had their lives turned upside down, and take responsibility for the situation.”

The around 100 vacant homes in Ayr MSP Brown's constituency are mostly situated around Prestwick Airport have been lying empty since 2016 when the helicopter search and rescue operation HMS Gannet was decommissioned

Brown said the UK should be "maximising every opportunity it can to find a home for Afghan refugees fleeing a horrific situation".