Glasgow & West Scotland

First refugee charter flight due in Glasgow next week

Refugees Image copyright Reuters

The first UK charter flight of Syrian refugees will arrive in Glasgow on Tuesday.

The special flight will be the first in a series arriving in the UK over the next few weeks.

Hundreds more vulnerable Syrians will be transported to UK airports in the coming months.

The refugees will be settled in homes across the UK with the help of local authorities which have pledged their support.

The Home Office has confirmed offers from more than 45 local authorities - including 17 in Scotland which have committed to taking in refugees before Christmas.

'Real step-change'

Talks are continuing with dozens more authorities who are keen to help as the scheme is expanded further in the new year.

Scotland will take about 350 of the 1,000 Syrian refugees who are due to arrive in Britain before Christmas.

Arrangements are now being put in place to cope with housing, transport, health and social services needs.

Image copyright AFP

Richard Harrington, UK government minister for Syrian Refugees, said: "We are well on our way to meeting the prime minister's pledge of 1,000 arrivals from the region by Christmas.

"It has taken a huge amount of effort and work to get to this point, involving many government departments, the UNHCR, local authorities the length and breadth of the United Kingdom and others.

"Next week's flight into Glasgow marks the beginning of a real step-change in the scheme as we upscale it to resettle 20,000 Syrians by the end of this parliament and we look forward to welcoming and helping hundreds of people in the coming weeks."

On 7 September, David Cameron announced that the vulnerable person relocation (VPR) scheme, which has been running since March 2014, would be expanded to resettle 20,000 Syrians in need of protection.

There has been a steady stream of arrivals since then, but the charter flights mark the most significant series of arrivals so far.

Home Secretary Theresa May announced in September that the government would establish a register of people who want to provide houses for refugees and develop a community sponsorship scheme.

Similar schemes have worked successfully in Canada and Australia.

Millions of people have been displaced because of the civil conflict in Syria which began more than four years ago.

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