Stop SERCO’s mass eviction of 330 refugees and asylum seekers in Glasgow

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The outsourcing corporate giant SERCO plans to change locks and mass evict 330 destitute refugees and asylum seekers. This would result in the majority being forced onto the streets and reliant on charities and faith groups. 

If these evictions are allowed to happen, then it will be the start of mass evictions across the country of vulnerable people by SERCO and other private asylum landlords subcontracted to the Home Office. 

Denying individuals access to food and shelter, leaving them on the streets to starve or freeze is degrading, its humiliating and it’s against any laws based on humanity and justice. 

We are therefore calling on Sajid Javid the Home Secretary to stop these evictions by SERCO and to implement humane treatment of asylum seekers. 

People should be allowed to work while they wait for their asylum case to be heard so that they do not have to rely on SERCO or the home office.

Glasgow has the biggest asylum population in the UK, housing 5,000 people from several countries including Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. These are war refugees. There is a global refugee crisis. 

Ironically, Scotland needs more people to grow, the demographics are against us. Glasgow - known as the second city of the empire - has had waves of immigration for centuries, including the Highland clearances, immigrants from the Irish famine, EU migrants and now the refugee crisis. 

The mass evictions were due to begin on August 6, 2018. SERCO’s eviction plan galvanised all of civic Scotland into action, forcing it to halt its inhumane plan.

Hundreds protested, asylum seekers went on hunger strike. Labour and SNP politicians threatened direct action if a single eviction took place in their constituencies. Glasgow housing associations began moves to prevent SERCO changing  locks on their properties. Lawyers sought interdicts in the Sherriff court and Scotland’s highest court, the Court of Session, to prevent SERCO carrying out “DIY evictions” without due process or a court order.

SERCO’s mass eviction plan has been halted for now. CEO Rupert Soames said he would await the outcome of the legal process but has issued a warning that he will start to put new refugee arrivals into hotels, creating further misery. When he first took on the contract, he announced that SERCO would lose money, but he took the contract in order to treat asylum seekers well. SERCO profits in the millions from government contracts. 

As a charity sheltering the destitute refugees and asylum seekers that SERCO evicts, Positive Action in Housing is worried about these evictions. Our Lifeline service and Room for Refugees Network will be placed under extreme pressure to shelter the vulnerable as no other charity provides such a service. Glasgow is the new frontline of the hostile environment.