The blog of the 'There is a Better Way' campaign by STUC staff about policy issues that are, or should be, in the news and guest contributors on issues of social justice. Written from a STUC perspective, contributions will often cover areas where there is yet no settled STUC policy and go into areas in more detail than our formal decisions. We welcome debate and we don’t expect everyone to agree with us, but we will remove any comments that are offensive, irrelevant or otherwise annoy.
Thursday, 2 December 2010
What the UK Border Agency did next
I have just received this email from Positive Action in Housing. I thought it was important to let as many people as possible know about what was happening in Glasgow with regards to the UK Border Agency and the removal of the housing contract for asylum seeking families. For more information on this issue please see my earlier blog: what the UK Border Agency did.
Please also consider writing to the people listed below.
Helen Martin STUC
Positive Action in Housing is disappointed to have to inform supporters that, despite the Immigration minister Damien Green promising that no one would be moved out of their homes in less than 14 days, the UK Borders Agency (UKBA) has begun issuing 24 hour eviction notices to families seeking asylum in Glasgow.
34 year old single mother, Namir Rad was told to leave her Glasgow City Council accommodation to move into YMCA/YPeople accommodation as result of the controversial changes in UKBA housing contracts in Glasgow. Namir has twin sons who are about to start at the local high school in the New Year. She has lived in her flat in Maryhill for over two years and the news that she has to move has hit her hard. Already suffering from anxiety and stress, she is on sleeping tablets and anti-depressants. She was only told in a telephone call on Wednesday 1 December that she is expected to move today Thursday at 11am. When the Unity Centre contacted Ypeople / YMCA, they were told that Namir would have to sign a letter saying she is refusing to move. Namir and her family do not want to move from the community where she has been settled for so long.That a vulnerable single mother of two young children should be treated in such a way is heartless and cruel.
In a separate case taken up by Positive Action in Housing, a single father has been told to move out of Glasgow City council accommodation within 24 hours to Angel Group accommodation. We have grave concerns about the health and safety of vulnerable families and individuals being moved out at short notice and the use of private accommodation providers.
Despite the assurances given in the media, the UKBA are carrying on regardless with their inhumane tactics. The longer things are left, the more they will single out vulnerable families to move out at extremely short notice, despite the assurances given by the Immigration minister and Phil Taylor, UKBA.
We call for the actions of the UKBA to be investigated by the Scottish Affairs Select committee; the UKBA's behaviour is nothing less than contemptuous. We are dealing with very vulnerable people who have suffered years of mistreatment at the hands of the UK Borders Agency. Many have developed mental health problems as a result of this mistreatment. The UK borders Agency seems to have learnt nothing from the triple suicide of the Russian family in Glasgow's Red Road flats in March 2010 after receiving similar letters to quit by the UKBA. There has also been a spate of children being taken into care after single mothers found it hard to cope with the constant fear of destitution, detention or deportation. There are 600 refugee families in this city who face similar harsh, insensitive treatment. We say no to the UKBA’s inhumanity on Scottish soil.
We believe that Glasgow City Council is the best housing and support service for the refugee families. However, if the contract is not going to be reinstated with the Council, then we believe that Glasgow’s registered social Landlords are a safer, more reliable and better regulated alternative to private accommodation providers currently contracted to the UKBA.
Please email the following - in your own words - and demand that Namir Rad and her sons, should be allowed to stay, demand an investigation and assurances that no more 24 hour eviction letters will be sent out to the remaining 600 refugee families.Please copy your letters firstname.lastname@example.org send in messages of support too.
Please write to:
· Iain Davidson, Chair, Scottish Affairs Select Committee (they are investigating the UKBA’s actions):email@example.com
· David Mundell MP, Scotland Secretary (he can highlight concerns expressed regarding UKBA actions in Scotland to the Westminster Government): firstname.lastname@example.org
· Tam Baillie, Scottish Children’s Commissioner (Children are at risk because of these inhumane actions): Tam.Baillie@sccyp.org.uk
Urgent Appeal for funds for Positive Action in Housing
Please help us to continue our humanitarian work. Please donate whatever you can. You can give an online single or monthly donation at:http://www.justgiving.com/paih/donate(http://www.justgiving.com/paih/donate). JustGiving reclaims Gift Aid automatically and forwards payment to us at the end of each week. 100% secure. Alternatively, send a cheque made out to PAIH Ltd and post to Positive Action in Housing, 98 West George Street Glasgow.
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