Jeremy Corbyn to meet Glasgow asylum seekers facing eviction
22 August 2018, 05:43
Jeremy Corbyn will meet asylum seekers facing eviction in Glasgow as he continues a four-day visit to Scotland.
The UK Labour leader will call for asylum and refugee accommodation to be taken out of the hands of private companies and transferred to public bodies.
Private provider Serco announced a rolling lock change eviction process for those not given refugee status in Glasgow last month.
The company, contracted by the Home Office, says it is paying accommodation for 330 asylum seekers in the city who have been denied the right to remain in the UK.
It has announced a pause on the plans in the face of legal challenges against the evictions at the Court of Session and Glasgow Sheriff Court.
Mr Corbyn will be joined by Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard to meet some of those affected by the evictions.
Speaking ahead of the visit, he said they had been treated "appallingly" by Serco and the Home Office.
"This is not how our country should treat people seeking help," he said.
"It is time for the Tories to end the failed privatisation agenda that is putting the public in danger.
"Time and again private profit is put ahead of the public interest. This has to end."
Mr Corbyn said Labour would also "end the ugly and discredited system of private firms running immigration detention centres".
He added: "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.
"I want to pay tribute to those who have responded and stood up to help these people. It is a moving example of solidarity and collective action.
"However, they have won just a temporary reprieve and we must now go on to the next stage of this campaign to protect and help these people.
"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.
"We are the only country in Europe to detain people in immigration detention centres indefinitely.
"Labour will end this shameful situation and close Yarl's Wood and Brook House detention centres, investing the money spent on locking people up on services that support survivors of modern slavery, human trafficking and domestic violence instead."
Serco has said it welcomes the legal challenges to the evictions in order to clarify the law.
The company maintains that it is providing free accommodation and being left to "pick up the bills" for asylum seekers who overstay despite having received a negative decision and their Home Office funding being stopped.
A Home Office spokesman said: "Asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute are provided with free, fully furnished accommodation while applications are considered. We also cover utility costs and provide a cash allowance to cover other essential living needs.
"Even if an asylum claim is failed, we will provide accommodation for those who would otherwise be destitute and who are temporarily unable to leave the UK because of a practical or legal obstacle.
"UK Visas and Immigration are working closely with partners in Glasgow including Cosla, Glasgow City Council and NGOs to ensure that the cases of failed asylum seekers are managed appropriately."