Immigration and asylum policy is reserved to Westminster. The law was changed in 2006 so that the Home Office – and not local councils – became responsible for providing housing for asylum seekers. The Home Office in 2012 chose to outsource this to private companies.
In Glasgow, the housing contractor is Serco, which recently announced plans to evict hundreds of asylum seekers in Glasgow and change the locks on their homes, leaving them homeless and destitute with no rights to benefits or accommodation. Following cross-party pressure, led by Glasgow City Council, Serco have pledged to ‘pause’ this process for a few weeks.
This issue has been caused by the Tory Home Office’s heartless policy over asylum – they must fix it. Not only could it lead to homelessness and destitution for hundreds of people, it leaves Glasgow City Council with no powers or funding to deal with the impact on public services.
We are proud that Glasgow welcomes asylum seekers, but it is not right that it does so without any funding from the Home Office.
The Tory Home Office should ditch this policy and provide adequate resources to local councils – like Glasgow City Council – to ensure people are treated with dignity and respect.
If the Home Office won’t act, they should give the Scottish Parliament the powers to do so.
We think that the Scottish Government, elected by people in Scotland and accountable to the Scottish Parliament, is best placed to make decisions about migration in Scotland.