Monday, 15 November 2010

What the UK Border Agency did

A rally was held in Glasgow today to protest against the UK border agency’s removal of housing contracts from Glasgow City Council. This decision affects more than 1300 refugee families who are currently receiving housing and support services from Glasgow City Council.  As a result of this decision, families will be forced to move out of their communities on as little as three days notice.  There is no guarantee that children will be able to stay in their schools or that adults will be able to continue with any medical treatment, university or college education or other activities they may be engaged in.
For the past ten years in Glasgow, people seeking asylum have been put into the hard to let houses no one else wanted to live in. Houses were kept warm and occupied. Refugees have brought a sense of community and vibrancy to neighbourhoods where previously there was none. There is no merit in houses being left empty, damp and vandalised when there are people who need and want them.
The termination of this contract will also increase pressure on Glasgow City Council homeless services which will need to respond to a growing demand for temporary accommodation. This decision will put more pressure on and raise the costs of the City’s homelessness services, social work and the National Health Service. With or without a contract from the UK Border Agency, the City Council will be paying up for asylum seekers and refugees but it will lose the contribution to this cost that the UK Border Agency currently provides.
Removing the housing contract from Glasgow City Council will devastate local communities and cause heartache for refugees and people seeking asylum who have painstakingly put down roots rebuilding their lives after they were destroyed in their countries of origin.
Ultimately these changes will make asylum seeking and refugee families worse off, it will put more pressure on Glasgow City Council services and it hurts the communities where these asylum seekers and refuges have been living and making a valuable contribution.
The UK Border Agency should rethink this decision.

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