NINE Helensburgh properties have been identified to house refugees from Afghanistan, a council report has revealed.

The properties have been earmarked by Ministry of Defence officials as part of the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP), which was launched by the UK Government in April 2021 - four months before the Taliban seized power in the country.

The project is in place to support people who worked with the British forces in Afghanistan,and are identified to be at serious risk to life.

No addresses for the properties are identified in the report, which will go before Argyll and Bute Council at the authority’s full meeting on Thursday, September 28.

Council executive director Douglas Hendry said: “The scheme includes immediate family members of those eligible for relocation and participating local authorities are funded to provide integration support for three years.

“The UK Government is now looking to facilitate the relocation and resettlement of eligible Afghan families in third countries.

“Having fled Afghanistan, there are many families with an MoD connection, primarily in Pakistan, who have been accepted for the ARAP scheme and are awaiting a property offer in the UK.

“The MoD have a large property portfolio in the UK and have been working in partnership with local authorities to offer MoD properties for Afghans on the ARAP scheme with the local authority providing integration support.

“The MoD have identified nine properties in Helensburgh which would provide suitable accommodation for families.

“The proposed approach, following a successful national pilot scheme, would be for the MoD to lease the properties to the ARAP families with the local authority supporting families funded by the integration tariff.”

The report continued that eight of the identified properties are three-bedroom homes and the other is a four-bedroom facility.

Mr Hendry added: “The properties will be leased directly to families by the MoD under the Direct Leasing model at the Local Housing Allowance rate.

“These properties will be prepared to a 'move-in' standard, including furnishing and white goods, by the MoD, and suitable families will be matched to the property. Visas and travel will then be arranged.

“All those who are resettled through ARAP will benefit from full rights and entitlements through Indefinite Leave to Remain, providing them with the certainty and stability they need to build their life here.

“The local authority will receive integration tariff whilst families are living in MoD properties of £20,520 per person over three years to provide ongoing integration support.

"In addition there is funding available in year 1 for education, adult ESOL and healthcare.

“The local authority will provide school places and nursery places for two to four-year-olds facilitated. Further education will be available for 16 to 19-year-olds with those aged 19 and over also eligible for access to funding for further education places.”

Councillors are recommended to agree the continuing support for Afghan relocation and the provision of integration support for families through the ARAP scheme.