Author: Stewart Paterson
THE leader of Glasgow City Council has written to the UK Government demanding it stop the lock changes that will evict hundreds of asylum seekers in Glasgow.
Susan Aitken, has contacted Caroline Noakes, UK Immigration Minister, after Serco gave notice it was planning to re-start the lock change eviction policy to remove the men and women from flats across the city.
Serco said, as it has lost the contract to house asylum seekers, it must return the properties to their owners and must do so empty.
It plans to evict 30 a month, starting next month by changing the locks.
Ms Aitken said the development was “deeply concerning”.
She said the council is powerless to act because the failed asylum seekers have no recourse to public funds.
Ms Aitken added: “The ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ policy renders local authorities powerless to respond and unable to provide the necessary support for many of those who will be affected. They will therefore be made destitute.
“In order for Glasgow City Council to provide support, I would have to instruct officers to break the law.”
Ms Aitken previously protested the plans in writing and at a committee meeting at Westminster on the issue when she told MPs of the strength of feeling in the city stating, “We went Tonto at them”.
In her letter she added: “ It is a sorry and utterly unacceptable state of affairs when a UK Government contract legally obliges its contractor to force people from their homes and leave public servants to choose between either breaking the law or allowing mass destitution on the streets of our city.”
“I therefore ask once again that as Minister for Immigration, you intervene, firstly, to prevent these planned evictions taking place and, secondly, to prevent future repetition of this situation. To begin with, funding is required for these tenancies to continue so that no locks will be changed in the coming weeks. This will give time for due diligence to be carried out and appropriate support put in place, including through the Third Sector if necessary.”