PRITI Patel attacked Scottish council areas as she complained that regions around the UK need to “play their part” in offering accommodation to asylum seekers.

The Home Secretary accused Scotland in particular of not doing so, and told an SNP MP he should be "ashamed of himself" for asking about the accommodation of those seeking asylum.

During home office questions, Patel was told that the UK should move away from housing people in hotels, and move back to the policy of dispersal accommodation - a longer term living situation, usually arranged by providers on behalf of the Home Office.

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In the Commons SNP MP and home affairs spokesman Stuart McDonald (below) had called for a return to dispersal accommodation, telling Patel: “We need to ditch this ludicrous and dangerous idea that hotels are some sort of luxury for asylum seekers when for very many the opposite is the case and the Home Secretary knows that increased hotel use has seen increased deaths in the asylum system.

“Why is the Home Office still placing asylum seekers in unsuitable hotels in unsuitable locations without so much as notifying the relevant local authority, never mind seeking its agreement?”

The National:

In response, the Home Secretary said: “Local authorities around the country and in particular in Scotland have not played their part in actually offering dispersal accommodation and I think he should be ashamed of himself to come to this House and make that point when the Scottish Government has done absolutely nothing to lift a finger in terms of actually supporting the policy of dispersal accommodation.”

While Scotland's biggest city Glasgow has welcomed thousands of asylum seekers over the years through the dispersal system, the city put its involvement in the scheme on hold last year after Badreddin Abadlla Adam, an asylum seeker being housed in the Park Inn hotel, stabbed six people. Council bosses said pressure on the system had to be eased.

Campaigners have called for Glasgow to rejoin the dispersal system, with Sabir Zazai of the Scottish Refugee Council telling The Ferret: “I know we got to a critical point in terms of numbers but now we need to work in collaboration with a multi-agency task force to make sure people that are arriving have the support and resources that they need.”

In 2019, it was revealed that the Scottish Government had welcomed twice as many refugees from Syria than the UK’s overall average.

Of the 18,676 people who came from Syria to resettle in the UK, Scotland helped to rehome 17% of them.

By the end of 2017 Scotland had also welcomed 2000 Syrian refugees, meaning its resettlement target was met three years ahead of plan.

In response to Patel, McDonald said her answer was one of the "most outrageous" he'd heard. 

“Every single local authority in Scotland is anxious to play its part in resettling refugees," he told the Chamber. 

"When it comes to dispersal accommodation, Glasgow has stepped up to the plate while other local authorities are withdrawing from the scheme, and they are withdrawing from the scheme quite rightly because the Home Office refuses to put in place support which requires them to do that.”

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Patel replied: “We will take no lectures on bypassing democracy or local councils on this side of the House. For the record, 31 local authorities out of 32 local authorities in Scotland have refused to participate in the dispersal scheme so I would say to him and to all members in the House that when it comes to changes to asylum accommodation the whole of the United Kingdom needs to step up and play its part.”

Conservative MP for Tatton Esther McVey asked for a timescale on how long hotels would be used to house asylum seekers, and the Home Secretary said the new Plan for Immigration had “long-term changes in the offing” for the asylum system.