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Scottish politicians hit out at Serco boss over company's attempts to boot hundreds of asylum-seekers from their home

SCOTTISH politicians hit out at Serco boss Rupert Soames today after he defended his company’s attempts to remove hundreds of asylum-seekers from their homes.

Mr Soames sought to justify the firm’s actions after repeated criticism of its handling of asylum-seekers’ housing in Glasgow.

The former Home Office contractor, which has since been stripped of its responsibilities, has repeatedly tried to remove vulnerable asylum-seekers from properties by changing the locks.

Despite charities and politicians in Scotland consistently condemning the use of lock-change evictions, Mr Soames paid tribute to the “care and compassion” of Serco workers and said the company “cannot go on like this.”

He said: “Whilst I acknowledge that a few generous souls have taken people into their own homes, no institutions has stepped in and offered to take over the responsibility of providing these people with housing.

“Now we are the devils of the piece because we cannot go on like this. As is sometimes said, no good deed ever goes unpunished.”

Charities dealing with asylum-seekers in Glasgow have warned of a looming humanitarian crisis on the city’s streets, with as many as 150 people now threatened with eviction.

The Serco chief executive has also been attacked by politicians from multiple parties following his defence of the evictions policy.

Labour parliamentary candidate Paul Sweeney said: “Serco's business model is essentially one that trades on human misery.

“It is a system of cruel purgatory that is completely inefficient, costly and counterproductive.

“That is why Labour have committed to giving all asylum-seekers the right to work and earn a living, as well as removing the asylum housing contracts from private-sector profiteers like Serco.”

SNP general-election candidate Chris Stephens, who has worked with those at risk, said: “I am astonished that Serco are still pushing the line that the asylum-seekers they want to throw on the streets are failed, when they are not.

“This is a textbook example of why outsourcing does not lead to better services and an illustration of how multinational companies handle public-sector contracts.”


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