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Red Cross called in amid allegations over housing for asylum seekers in Glasgow

Categories: Articles:Asylum & Refugees | Published: 14/09/2016 | Views: 854
The Red Cross has been drafted in to act as a middleman between the Home Office and vulnerable asylum seekers being housed in 'horrific' conditions in Glasgow.  Many are too scared to speak out about their accommodation, described as the worst in the UK. So the British Red Cross has now had to step in as a go-between, MPs have been told. (Kate Devlin, Herald, Scotland)

The Commons Home Affairs Committee was also told that the outsourcing giant which holds the multi-million pound contract was housing a double amputee in Scotland, and 121 other ‘overstays’, out of its own pocket.  Serco boss Rupert Soames, Winston Churchill’s grandson, said that his company stood to lose £145m, because the number of expected asylum seekers had risen by 8,000 in Scotland and the north west of England alone.

But critics have accused Serco of using the contract as a “loss leader” to secure other lucrative government jobs.
Susan Munroe, the chief executive of charity Freedom from Torture, told the committee that the British Red Cross had been drafted in.  “It was identified by the Home Office that people who are dependent on the Home Office for their status are unlikely to complain to the Home Office about their accommodation," she said. As a result the British Red Cross had been brought in to "facilitate feedback directly from residents of asylum accommodation”.  The move would "give residents a voice”, she said. But she also called for an independent inspection of all asylum accommodation.

The intervention by the Red Cross was welcomed by Stuart McDonald, the SNP MP and a member of the committee. “It is difficult for people to differentiate between Serco (who hold the contract), Orchard and Shipman (the subcontractors in Glasgow) and the Home Office,” he said.  Read more here
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