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Refugee housing firm rakes in £192,000 profit

Categories: Articles:Asylum & Refugees | Published: 01/08/2016 | Views: 981
A housing firm accused of providing asylum seekers with “horrific” accommodation has raked in nearly £200,000 profits. Orchard and Shipman, which has a £60million contract from Serco to provide accommodation on behalf of the Home Office, yesterday published accounts that revealed it made £192,911 in the 18 months from April 2014 to the end of September 2015. (Karin Goodwin, The National)

The profit was condemned by a Glasgow MP who raised a host of concerns about the quality of asylum seekers’ housing in the city before a Westminster committee earlier this year.

Asylum seekers have complained about substandard conditions including rat and insect-infested homes, mould caused by unfixed leaks and overcrowded flats. 
Serco insisted each of their homes meet strict Home Office standards. The firm also said it had made an overall loss of nearly £800,000 during a 30-month period.

Earlier this year Keith Vaz MP, chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, announced an inquiry into asylum seekers’ housing standards after visiting accommodation in Glasgow.
He claimed the “horrific” conditions he witnessed were worse than anywhere else in the UK.

The home affairs committee had already carried out a study of housing provision for asylum seekers in England and Wales which was critical of many private firms.
Following Vaz’s visit to Scotland, he announced a new inquiry would look at accommodation throughout the UK. The inquiry is due to start in September.

Orchard and Shipman’s recent profit follows a loss of £889, 482 in the first year of its contract from April 2013 to the end of March 2014.
The financial report noted that profit was achieved after Serco “provided additional support and agreed changes to some elements of the contract that will result in an improvement to future cash flow and profitability”.

Chris Stephen, SNP MP for Glasgow South West, called for the Home Affairs Select Committee to suspend any contract extensions until after September’s inquiry.
He said: “Orchard Shipman has gone from making a loss to a healthy profit. “We have continued to see deep concerns about the standard of accommodation expressed by a wide range of agencies.”    Read more here

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