THE Scottish Government will look into the feasibility of introducing buffer zones outside hotels being used as migrant accommodation, following a petition to Holyrood.

It calls for action to stop far-right groups demonstrating outside places where refugees and asylum seekers may be housed in order to protect them from intimidation.

A government minister said there are no specific plans for exclusion zones, but added that everyone has a right to feel “safe and secure”.

The petition, lodged by Gilliane Petrie, states: “It wouldn’t be acceptable gather like this outside anyone’s home – and it’s not acceptable to do it outside these hotels.

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“Scotland should be a safe space for all its residents. It is disgusting that refugees and asylum seekers have to see and hear racist abuse at any time, and it is outrageous and unacceptable that asylum seekers are singled out and targeted by racists, unable to feel safe in their accommodation.”

The National: Muthu Hotel Erskine

Petrie said the Muthu Hotel (above) in Erskine had been subject to protests from groups like Patriotic Alternative and Homeland.

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Her proposal for buffer zones is similar to that being put forward by the MSP Gillian Mackay, who wants to introduce “safe access zones” outside abortion clinics.

Holyrood’s Petition Committee considered Petrie’s request on Wednesday.

Convener Jackson Carlaw said the complexities of the proposal would be “considerable”, but the committee decided to seek further views on the petition.

Emma Roddick, the minister for equalities, migration and refugees, gave a written submission to the committee dated October 27.

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A clear definition of migrant accommodation would need to be established for such a rule to be effective, she said, noting that ministers in Edinburgh oppose the Home Office’s use of hotels as long-term accommodation for asylum seekers.

It said: “As indicated to Ms Petrie previously, this is not something the Scottish Government has considered to date and as outlined above there are a number of complex issues which would need to be worked through.

“I have therefore asked Scottish Government officials to undertake initial scoping in terms of potential feasibility.”