Author: Peter Cassidy
Around 300 refugees in Glasgow could be made homeless from Monday when ‘landlords’ Serco begin a ‘Move on’ programme for ‘for those who the Home Office have determined will not be granted refugee status’.
Serco will begin a programme to change the locks on refugee accommodation on Monday and that the families involved are likely to have nowhere to go as a result of the decision with many likely to end up homeless and potentially sleeping rough on the streets of Glasgow.
Scottish Labour learned of the plans when they shared with MSP Mary Fee by the Women’s Asylum Seeker Housing (W-ASH) project, with whom she has a built up a good working relationship over the last few years based on her work around equality issues.
Ms Fee has said she is “utterly dismayed by Serco’s brutal decision to lock asylum seekers out of their properties with almost no prior warning” and described the move as “scandalous and lacking any compassion or rationale.”
W-ASH are particularly concerned that many of the people involved will have nowhere to go and will end up homeless and sleeping rough on the streets of Glasgow.
Of the 300 people that will be impacted, it is believed that 18 asylum seekers have mental health issues and nine asylum seekers have intrusive, suicidal thoughts.
W-ASH also believe Serco have not engaged with the third-sector/voluntary sector or any organisations in Glasgow that provide assistance and support for asylum seekers and that the move is an arbitrary decision which will have a real impact of destitution and homelessness.
Scottish Labour West Scotland MSP Mary Fee, said: “I am utterly dismayed by Serco’s brutal decision to lock asylum seekers out of their properties across Glasgow. Their decision to change the locks on properties with almost no prior warning is scandalous and lacks any compassion or rationale.
“The reality is that Serco are conducting a mass extra-judicial eviction of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
“Ultimately, this decision will force families in to homelessness. There will now be three hundred more people sleeping rough on Glasgow’s streets. That is a damming statistic.
“Every person has the human right to housing. This means access to a safe and habitable, home with freedom from forced eviction.
“This decision reveals the callous and inhumane nature of the UK Tory Government’s ‘Hostile Environment’ policy as we have already seen with the Windrush Scandal.
“I have met with many of the people impacted by this barbaric and inhumane decision. They are vulnerable individuals who are the victims of the some of the world’s most cruel dictators and repressive regimes.
“We have a duty to displaced persons, who are fleeing persecution and warfare from around the world. Serco and the Tory Government have totally failed in their duty of care to protect some of our most vulnerable people living in Glasgow.
“We need an asylum system based on the values of compassion, humanity and human rights.
“It is imperative that Serco reassess this situation as a matter of urgency and reverse this cruel and callous policy.”