NOT a single Afghan family has yet been permanently settled in Edinburgh as hundreds have been temporarily housed in hotels due to a shortage of suitable accommodation, the Herald can reveal.

Council bosses in Edinburgh are set to increase the number of refugees that can be homed in the capital – with the first Afghan asylum seekers expected to be given permanent accommodation in the city “by the end of the month”.

Councillors will consider boosting the number of refugee places from 100 to 150 at a crunch meeting tomorrow but a lack of suitable housing has been blamed for a failure, as yet, to permanently resettle refugee families in the capital.

The move comes after criticism of Scottish councils by Home Secretary Priti Patel, who has pointed the finger at local authorities north of the border for not "pulling their weight" in helping efforts to rehome asylum seekers following the evacuation of Afghanistan.

READ MORE: Priti Patel accuses Scotland of 'not pulling its weight' on asylum seeker crisis

Since 2015, 585 people have been resettled in Edinburgh with 573 of those accommodated by the city council and tow households made up of 12 people have been “resettled by groups the Home Office has approved”, according to council officials.

Evacuees who arrived in the UK from Afghanistan have been offered temporary accommodation in hotels across the UK while awaiting offers of permanent resettlement from councils under one of two Home Office resettlement schemes.

Officials have confirmed that Edinburgh has provided temporary accommodation in hotels on two occasions, initially for 75 people from September until October last year and then for 144 people “across two bringing hotels from January 2022”.

They added: “No households have been resettled permanently in Edinburgh as yet.”

But council officers have warned that as “availability of permanent social housing remains a city-wide challenge” and the fact “Afghan families can require properties with four bedrooms or more”, it is “highly likely” that private sector housing stock will need to be mobilised to help with permanent resettlement.

The SNP leader of the city council, Adam McVey, has confirmed to the Herald that permanent accommodation will be offered to the first Afghan families in the coming days.

He said: “We’re asking committee to approve actions to be able to increase the number of refugees resettled in the city. “The experience of those fleeing their homes is beyond harrowing and we are committed to helping in whatever way we can.

“Over recent years we have been able to resettle hundreds of refugees and these proposals mean we will be able to give even more people safety and a bright future in our capital.”

Mr McVey added: “We have been liaising with the UK Government to secure the support necessary and will continue working to explore accommodation options. Our focus since September has been on responding to the urgent humanitarian need for accommodation by supporting Afghan families in temporary bridging accommodation.

“We are now in a position to work on finding people permanent housing and are looking forward to resettling our first Afghan households by the end of the month.”

Labour depute council leader, Cammy Day, said the authority is “committed to doing everything in our power to help those fleeing turbulent circumstances in their home countries”.

READ MORE: Patel's 'cruel and unworkable' asylum Bill could cost taxpayers almost £3bn a year

He added: “Over recent months we have been engaging closely with the UK and Scottish Governments and we’re pleased to be able to increase our support to those most in need of a safe home.

“I have asked that the Home Office engage, with Edinburgh and other local authorities, to provide sufficient resources for us to do the best we can for those seeking to settle here.

“We pride ourselves on the warm welcome we offer to those in desperate need of our help and this sentiment is shared across the city.

“Over the last six years of resettlement work, we’ve had a fantastic community response to those seeking a home here, with countless offers of help from groups and individuals around Edinburgh. It’s people like these that make Edinburgh such a wonderful place to live.”

In November, the Home Secretary said that Scottish councils and the Scottish Government were not "pulling their weight" and accused Nicola Sturgeon's ministers of failing to "lift a finger" to help.

Ms Patel insisted that councils "in particular in Scotland have not played their part and actually helped with dispersal accommodation".

In a letter sent to Mr McVey, Home Office officials stressed that “the ongoing role of local authorities is vital to the Government’s efforts”, adding that “we are grateful for their continued offers of support and housing”.

The Home Office said that councils will receive “a generous funding package to support the resettlement of Afghan families”.

The letter added: “We continue to work with local authorities to source appropriate accommodation as quickly as possible, although we have had to use hotels as a temporary measure due to unprecedented demand.

“Alongside engagement with local authorities, we are reaching out to landlords, developers and the wider private rented sector to encourage further offers of properties, either directly or through our housing portal.”