Serco set to go ahead with lock change this week
Refugee, housing charities and campaigners are urging Serco to halt the eviction of hundreds of asylum seekers in Glasgow days before the process gets underway.
Campaigners are desperately appealing directly and through the courts to delay the move which could see the asylum seekers plunged into poverty and destitution.
Fiona McPhail, principal solicitor at Shelter Scotland, said: “We are convinced that lock-change evictions due to be carried out by Serco are illegal and should not be going ahead…we call upon Serco to halt lock-change evictions until the law is clarified in ongoing litigation.”
A number of interim interdict orders preventing the evictions of individuals already served with notices by Serco have been obtained over the past week, with more to be heard.
Mike Dailly, the solicitor pursuing the appeal for Govan Law Centre, said: “It would be sensible for Serco to put lock-change evictions on hold pending a legally binding and authoritative ruling in Scotland.”
Gary Christie, head of policy for the Scottish Refugee Council, said: “We are deeply worried about the impending forced evictions of asylum seekers in Glasgow.
“With correct advice and support, we know that many of those affected by this policy can get back on to statutory support. For those whose appeal rights have been exhausted, but who cannot return for various reasons to their country of origin, the Home Office should immediately grant them temporary status.”
Serco, which lost the Home Office contract in Scotland earlier this year, said that restarting the eviction plans was “not a step we have taken lightly.”
It guaranteed that no more than 30 people would be issued with lock-changing notices in any one week, that tenants would be given at least 21 days’ notice to make alternative arrangements and that no children would be left homeless.
Serco also promised to donate up to £150,000 to charities supporting homeless people in Glasgow. This is the rough equivalent of the Scottish Refugee Council’s destitution grant of £70 a fortnight, which does not include accommodation costs, for the 300 individuals affected for just over three months.