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Free bus travel pledge for asylum seekers in Scotland

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The Maryhill Integration Network, which offers support to people seeking asylum in Glasgow, said it was “thrilled” about the funding announcement.

The group’s human rights and advocacy co-ordinator, Pinar Aksu, told BBC Scotland News: “We know that currently the immigration system in its form is extremely difficult, however in Scotland we are creating pathways to show we can make positive changes.

“Having free bus travel will allow people to freely travel, meet friends, attend groups, appointments and more. It will create some form of freedom in a system where movement is restricted.”

In a recent report, Holyrood’s equalities, human rights and civil justice committee said extending free bus travel to people in the asylum system would be “transformative”.

It called on Scottish ministers to develop a plan for a nationwide rollout – based on analysis from pilot, free-travel schemes that have operated in both Aberdeen and Glasgow – before the end of this parliamentary session.

The government will set out its budget later this year.

The Home Office has said it works “continually to ensure the needs and vulnerabilities of those residing in asylum accommodation are identified and considered, including those related to mental health and trauma”.

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