By Alistair Farrow
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Fury at Serco drive to evict hundreds of asylum seekers from their homes

This article is over 2 years, 8 months old
Issue 2653
Many people in Glasgow have organised to welcome refugees and asylum seekers to the city
Many people in Glasgow have organised to welcome refugees and asylum seekers to the city (Pic: Stephen McBroom)

Over 300 asylum seekers living in Glasgow face being kicked out of their houses by the hated privatising firm Serco.

Two of the people affected are appealing a judge’s decision that Serco is legally entitled to repossess 329 flats which are homes for asylum seekers.

Many of those affected are in the process of appealing their asylum decisions.

The firm leases the flats from social housing providers and then rents them out to asylum seekers through the Home Office.

Last year it began the process of repossessing the flats. The move was met with outrage.

Now the firm has written to some of those living in its flats saying, “The Occupancy Agreement has now ended.

“The date by which you were required to leave your accommodation is in the past. You should now leave the property.”

It’s an intimidatory move designed to get people out of their homes. But tenants are not legally obliged to leave while the appeal is ongoing.

Robina Qureshi from the Positive Action in Housing charity said, “Frankly it is impractical for someone trying to resolve their legal status, and who is being forced out of their home in a matter of days, to get recourse to the first-tier tribunal.”

The Scottish National Party leadership of Glasgow city council claimed in 2018 to have no knowledge of the scheme and to be outraged.

Yet documents released under a Freedom of Information request showed Serco emailed council managers about the policy weeks before it was implemented.

Although the council denies councillors knew of the plans, questions remain. One councillor who Serco did email about the plans—Jennifer Layden—claimed she was on holiday at the time.

The Serco CEO is Rupert Soames, grandson of Winston Churchill and brother of Tory MP Nicholas Soames.

The firm also runs infamous immigration detention centres such as Yarl’s Wood in Bedford, where widespread abuse of detainees has been exposed.

The asylum system in Britain is rigged against people fleeing war and persecution. Anyone should be allowed to come to Britain for whatever reason.

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