SCOTLAND is hosting more displaced people than England per capita despite the Home Secretary’s claims that it must do more, an expert has said.

Dr Peter Walsh, a lecturer in migration at the University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory, said that Scotland is home to 50% more displaced people than England per capita.

It comes after James Cleverly, the Home Secretary, said in a letter to First Minister Humza Yousaf that Scotland had taken proportionately half the number of asylum seekers given accommodation in England.

The Tory minister asked that efforts were made to “rapidly” increase asylum accommodation north of the Border, suggesting the use of a cruise ship off Edinburgh.

Cleverly wrote that Scotland currently houses eight asylum seekers for every 10,000 people – less than the nine in Wales, and half the 16 in England. He urged Yousaf to “continue to work together to help address the challenges we collectively face”.

However, Walsh told BBC Scotland that while Cleverly’s figures were correct, he was taking a narrow view that did not give the whole picture.

The Oxford University expert said: “It's helpful, I think, to take a broader view.

“The Home Secretary criticises the Scottish Government for not taking enough asylum seekers. Asylum seekers are those who reach the UK under their own steam, sometimes arriving without authorisation, such as by small boat, and then they claim asylum on British shores.

“So, this excludes Afghans. It excludes Ukrainians. If we limit our analysis just to asylum seekers, it is true that Scotland hosts about half the number per capita than England does.

READ MORE: Union 'not safe’ with 2014 independence support a ‘floor not ceiling’

“However, we also know that Scotland hosts a lot of Ukrainians: 26,000 compared with 100,000 in England. But England has 10 times the population. So per capita, Scotland hosts about 2.5 times more Ukrainians per capita than England.

“If we look overall at all the categories of displaced people that are hosted – that's Ukrainians, Afghans, and asylum seekers – what we find is quite interesting. England hosts four people per 1000 of its resident population and Scotland six.

“So, per capita overall, Scotland hosts 50% more than England.”

Marsh explained that many asylum seekers arrive on small boats over the Channel with the goal of living in London. The Tory government then “disperses” them around the UK, and it is these arrivals that Cleverly is asking for Scotland to take more of.

The expert said: “There's a particular emphasis in the letter on what the Home Secretary refers to as large sites, so this would be akin to the Bibby Stockholm barge.

The National: The Bibby Stockholm barge will soon be welcoming the first cohort of 50 asylum seekers

“We also have dedicated asylum accommodation facilities in England, typically disused military facilities … The challenge there is that these always encounter difficulties.

“In fact, our largest asylum accommodation site, Napier Barracks, an adapted military facility, was at some point closed down because a UK judge said it was unlawful to house people there because of the poor conditions.

“So these large sites are difficult to manage and some government estimates actually suggest they're more expensive than housing people in hotels.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Home Office is responsible for provision of asylum accommodation, including hotels procured as contingency initial asylum accommodation.

“Ministers have been clear that the UK Government needs to respect the important role of local authorities in asylum dispersal and should provide more financial support for them as it presses ahead with plans to close asylum hotels.

READ MORE: ‘We were like slaves’: Home Office ‘turning blind eye’ to exploitation in Scots farms

“Scotland has consistently played its part in supporting asylum dispersal since it was introduced over two decades ago. We are committed to supporting people to integrate into our communities and to providing the safety and security they need as they begin to rebuild their lives.

“Scotland is offering sanctuary to more than double the displaced Ukrainians per head of population than any other part of the UK, with more than 39,000 people with a Scottish sponsor being granted a visa, and more than 26,000 of those having arrived in the UK via a Scottish sponsor, with over 20,000 as a direct result of the Scottish Government acting as a super sponsor.

“As we did with the Syrian and Ukrainian Resettlement programmes, which saw all 32 local authorities in Scotland participate and welcome displaced people into their communities, Scotland stands ready to offer refuge and sanctuary for those who are displaced.

“From the outset of the conflict in Gaza, the Scottish Government has called on the UK Government to use its existing UK Resettlement Scheme, and ensure it is aligned with UNHCR to provide those who want to leave with the support they require.

“We have received the Home Secretary’s letter and will respond in due course.”