Jeremy Corbyn to meet eviction-threatened asylum seekers in Glasgow

Jeremy Corbyn

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will today meet asylum seeker families in Glasgow threatened with eviction by outsourcing giant Serco and call for such services to be delivered by not for profit public bodies.

Earlier this month Serco’s announced a ‘pause’ on plans to change the locks on the homes of hundreds of refused asylum seekers living in Glasgow following protests and campaigns by law firms, housing associations and other charities.

Mr Corbyn and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard will also meet and pay tribute to organisations and community activists campaigning on behalf of those facing eviction.

In the wake of this scandal, Jeremy Corbyn will call for the Conservative government to start to “roll back its failed and dangerous privatisation and outsourcing agenda” and investigate taking back in house contracts to house refugees held by private companies like Serco.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, he said: “Asylum seekers who have fled horrific conflict and violence and have since made the UK their home deserve our help and support, not persecution from profiteering private companies.

“Theresa May’s government has failed to uphold our country’s moral duty to refugees. Labour will end the Tories’ ‘hostile environment’ policy that has caused such cruel and inhumane treatment of British citizens as well as asylum seekers and refugees.”

Robina Qureshi, director of Positive Action in Housing, which has led many of the campaigns against the evictions, said: “We welcome the invitation to meet Jeremy Corbyn to highlight Serco’s proposed mass eviction of refugees, asylum seekers and those with leave to remain here.

“Glasgow has the biggest asylum population in the UK. It is the new frontline of the hostile environment. We have taken in waves of immigrants before, from the Highland clearances, to immigrants from the Irish famine and now the global refugee crisis. We need immigrants. What happens here will set the precedent for the rest of the UK, where Serco and other private asylum landlords operate. So far we have forced Serco into retreat. It’s important we continue to resist. The first stage is the legal arguments. The next stage is further resistance measures.”

Robina called on housing associations to agree a “collectively programme of resistance” to avoid any evictions.

She added: “While around 30% of all of Serco’s housing stock is leased by Registered Social landlords, the remainder are leased by small private landlords. We have received reports from some Glasgow housing associations that Serco has refused to give details of any refugee tenants in order that those properties could be ‘flipped’ into temporary tenancy agreements to avoid eviction. We therefore call on housing bodies to collectively agree a programme of resistance to ensure that asylum seekers and refugees in their properties are protected. This includes refusing permission to Serco to alter fixtures and fittings. That would stop the proposed lock changes.”

The Serco evictions have been put on hold until the legal arguments against Serco are heard in the Sheriff Court in Glasgow on Friday 24 August 2018. The Court of Session is also considering a case brought by Govan Law Centre.

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