SNP MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands, Gordon MacDonald, has urged the UK Government to use the 160 unused homes, formerly used as accommodation for Ministry of Defence staff, to house refugees fleeing from Afghanistan.

The City of Edinburgh Council leader, Adam McVey, recently wrote to the UK Government calling for an increase in the number of Afghan refugees the UK welcomes, and Gordon MacDonald has said “There is a clear opportunity here to use the empty MoD houses to house these refugee families in the Capital.”

The homes, which are mostly situated at Redford Barracks in the Edinburgh Pentlands constituency, have been left empty for years. The local MSP has repeatedly called for action to bring the vacant housing into use.

The MSP said: “it’s not right that these homes lie empty, and it is in the gift of the UK Government to put them to good use.”

Earlier this year it was revealed that nearly 11,000 MoD homes were empty across the UK, with 900 unused in Scotland.

Gordon Macdonald MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands PHOTO ©2021 The Edinburgh Reporter

Mr MacDonald, said: “For years now, I have been doing everything I can to get the empty MoD homes in my constituency – and right across Scotland – to be used to help people whose lives would benefit immensely from being housed in the properties. Yet again, we see another example where the UK government could make the most of the hundreds of empty properties across our country.  

“The situation in Afghanistan is truly horrific. The refugees are fleeing a horrific situation and we need to be doing everything we can to accept our responsibility and help those who arrive in this country.

“In Edinburgh, we are ready to accept and welcome Afghan families – and as we currently have around 160 homes that are still owned by the MoD but no one has lived in them for at least five years, it seems like a missed opportunity to not use this housing to house refugees in safe and warm homes where they can start to rebuild their lives.

“Boris Johnson should commit to maximising these unused sites like the one at Redford Barracks to allow the UK to take in more refugees, who have had their lives turned upside down, and take responsibility for the situation.”