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Glaswegians ‘sick of’ Home Office contractor's treatment of asylum-seekers, MPs say

Westminster facing repeated questions over whether its contract with housing provider Mears will be suspended or ended

THE Home Office has come under increasing pressure to cut ties with a contractor over the horrific conditions imposed on asylum-seekers who have been forced from their homes and into hotels. 

The Westminster government is facing repeated questions over whether its contract with housing provider Mears will be suspended or ended as a result of ongoing issues in Glasgow. 

On Monday night in Westminster, Glasgow MPs raised concerns about Mears’s conduct, saying that the city needed answers to persisting issues blighting asylum-seekers. 

SNP MP Anne McLaughlin told the Commons that Glaswegians “are sick of people being treated like this,” urging the government to provide answers about the lack of protections provided.

Immigration Minister Chris Philp said that work was continuing to return people to suitable accommodation and rebutted suggestion of a “hostile environment,” side-stepping a question by Alison Thewliss MP about the suspension of the Mears contract. 

The latest criticism comes just days after a stabbing at a Glasgow hotel which left six people injured and attacker Badreddin Abedlla Adam shot dead by police. 

Mr Adam was one of 380 asylum-seekers removed to temporary accommodation across the city in response to the coronavirus pandemic before he was killed at the Park Inn Hotel on Friday.

Numbers of them staying in hotels, including pregnant women and victims of human trafficking, were placed there without vulnerability assessments and have had financial allowance withheld.

Now campaigners have said the Home Office must take action.

A spokesperson for the Asylum Seeker Housing Project said: “Over the last three months it has become more and more obvious Mears has failed in its most fundamental duty of care to these very vulnerable people. 

“It has failed on all accounts, and it is time this contract was terminated by the Home Office to prevent further tragedies and these vulnerable people being put in position where their health and welfare could suffer.”

A Refugees for Justice campaign was launched today to call for an end to the inhumane treatment of people who seek asylum. 

Organised by refugees themselves, the group wants a full and independent investigation to ensure that “lessons are learned, this never happens again, and the failures of the system are exposed and justice done.”

In a statement on Monday night, Mears said that those remaining in hotels will be moved this week and it is doing everything it can to provide additional support to service users.

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