DAVID Cameron is under pressure to take part in a House of Commons debate on the refugee crisis this week after the SNP renewed its attack on his response to the situation.The SNP’s Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, described the measures being put in place by the Prime Minister as “woefully inadequate” and urged Cameron to hear the views of MPs to the emergency which has seen thousands from the Middle East and Africa perish as they try to cross the Mediterranean after fleeing conflicts.

“This humanitarian crisis must be treated as a top priority by the UK Government which is why David Cameron should take part in the full-day debate in the House of Commons,” Robertson said. “The UK Government’s response to this distressing humanitarian issue has been woefully inadequate to date and it is time for David Cameron to take personal responsibility for the slow and insufficient response from the UK Government so far.”

Robertson’s call follows Nicola Sturgeon’s criticisms of Cameron’s response to the situation as “utterly shameful” after he failed to act following the publication of pictures showing the body of drowned three-year-old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi on a Turkish beach.

Yesterday, it was reported the UK Government was prepared to accept up to 15,000 Syrian refugees as it expands its vulnerable persons relocation programme, under which it has taken 216 people from refugee camps on the Syrian border.

However, the First Minister wants the UK Government to take part in a larger European Union refugee relocation programme which will see Germany take in 800,000 people by the end of the year.

The SNP will use the Opposition Day debate on Wednesday to demand further action.

Meanwhile in Scotland, Humza Yousaf, the Europe and external affairs minister, will today meet with the Scottish Refugee Council in advance of the first meeting of the country’s refugee taskforce, announced by Sturgeon on Friday.

Scotland is poised to take in 1,000 people as a “starting point” and the Scottish Government has given £1 million to the taskforce to allow frontline groups to organise the practical measures needed to support the refugees when they arrive.

“I am very keen that we ensure a warm Scottish welcome for those seeking refuge here, and also that we harness the huge public goodwill and support to take action for those fleeing war and persecution,” said Yousaf ahead of the taskforce’s first meeting, which he will chair.

John Wilkes, chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, welcomed the First Minister’s commitment, which he believed “captured the public mood”.

Yesterday, Chancellor George Osborne said Britain’s international aid budget is to be used to help cover the costs of taking “thousands more” refugees fleeing the fighting in Syria.

Osborne said funds will be channelled to local councils to pay for housing and other services as part of a “fundamental re-think” of the UK’s £12 billion-a-year foreign aid spending.

He said ministers would also begin setting out the arguments for extending RAF air strikes against Daesh into Syria as part of a strategy to tackle the root cause of the refugee crisis.

While ministers were not prepared to risk a repeat of their Commons defeat two years ago on military intervention, he said they would begin making the case for extending RAF air strikes against Daesh in Iraq into Syria.

“We need to see support across the House of Commons for this action. It doesn’t mean that everyone has to sign up to it.

“We have got to spend the coming period making that argument to people,” he said.

He hinted that if Jeremy Corbyn – who is opposed to military intervention – won the Labour leadership contest, ministers could try to peel off support from Labour MPs opposed to the left-winger.

Osborne said it was right aid spending was used in support of Britain’s national interest and he signalled a major shift in resources to the Middle East to promote stability in the region.

“Five years ago we were spending £10m on this region, now we are spending £250m, but it is still in, my view, not nearly enough,” he said.

He acknowledged the decision to increase the number of refugees to be given sanctuary in the UK – after Cameron had previously argued it was not the solution – was in part driven by the pictures of Alan’s body.

Donations pile up as Scots respond to refugee crisis

Call to halt demolition of Red Road to provide housing for refugees

Letters to The National, September 7: Shocking image is moving us to question the UK Government’s feeble response to refugee crisis

The National View: Refugee crisis must bring out the best in human nature

Cheering crowds offer a welcome to refugees in Munich

Nicola Sturgeon keeps pressure on the UK to do more, saying she would welcome refugees into her home

George Kerevan: Don’t believe the lies about UK support for the Kindertransport

Carolyn Leckie: Give the refugees safe routes out of war

Kevin McKenna: Are we really willing to open our homes to refugees?