AN HOTEL that's providing accommodation for refugees from Afghanistan is "definitely not a prison", Fife Council have said.

Their living conditions – and also a belief that people who have fled the war in Ukraine are receiving better treatment – were raised at last week's cabinet committee.

Housing chiefs insisted that all refugees had received the "warmest of welcomes" but also admitted that some don't want to stay here.

During a discussion on the resettlement of vulnerable people in Fife, Councillor David Graham said: "My only concern is in a ward we've still got an hotel with 18 Afghan families and there's been no movement on that since last August.

"I'm just hoping that the Afghans haven't been left behind. They say the Ukrainians always get the clothes and the blankets while the Afghans are living in this hotel, a little compound with security guys on the door.

"You go into the car park and you're stopped. Is it a prison or a resettlement? I just don't want the Afghans left behind."

Gavin Smith, service manager for housing access, replied: "To give some reassurance, no it's definitely not a prison. The support service that Fife has provided has been rated as green-plus by the Home Office, which isn't the case in all places.

"There is dynamic, low-level movement from the hotel, with people coming and going.

"It's fair to say there are some people that have been there for extended periods but, despite the warmest of welcomes that we have provided in Fife to try and integrate people into community activities and events and things like that, there is a large cohort of people who want to live elsewhere.

"They want to live down south, predominantly in the cities, so we're still working with those people and we're still providing housing advice."

Housing services in Fife are under extreme pressure but he added: "We are providing the warmest welcome."

Cllr John Beare said: "This is a Home Office facility in our ward.

"There is going to be movement and Fife Council are doing all within their powers to work with the people who are there but it is the responsibility of the Home Office."

A report by head of housing John Mills said the Kingdom had a "positive reputation" for responding to humanitarian crises and added: "Fife is currently supporting several humanitarian/resettlement programmes in relation to the evacuation from Afghanistan, the various Ukrainian visa routes, unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people and the UK Resettlement Scheme with different and low-level commitments to each scheme.

"This also includes providing wraparound support services to hotel-type accommodation in four locations in different parts of Fife with the potential for this to increase further."

By early July, Scotland had welcomed 7,286 refugees – there were no Fife figures available – with up to 31,000 people expected potentially in the coming months.

The Scottish Super Sponsor Scheme was suspended that same month due to the pressures on the system and services, with the Scottish Government launching a review.

Mr Mills said that Fife's resettlement core group had asked ministers to establish a longer-term, sustainable welcome hub as a focus for resettlement operations "but this has not happened".

He added: "Hotel bookings are currently short-term and dynamic which is problematic and resource-intensive."