Glasgow houses more asylum seekers than any other UK council

Minister for women's employment Annabelle Ewing meets members of the Bridges Programme in Glasgow, which helps refugees and asylum seekers find appropriate work placements. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

Minister for women's employment Annabelle Ewing meets members of the Bridges Programme in Glasgow, which helps refugees and asylum seekers find appropriate work placements. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

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Glasgow is home to more asylum seekers than any other local authority area in the UK, research has found.

More than 3,300 were living in the city as of December 31, 2016, according to the most recent Home Office figures available - almost double the number in Liverpool or Manchester, where the next two biggest concentrations are found.

In total, there were 39,389 asylum seekers across the UK receiving some support from the government.

The north-west of England houses 9,491 asylum seekers - 16 times the number in the south-east, research by the Guardian uncovered.

Local authorities are no longer responsible for housing asylum seekers after the Westminster Government privatised the system in 2012 and awarded contracts to G4S, Serco and Clearsprings.

It is understood all of those living in Glasgow are in private accommodation.

Those who claim asylum in the UK are granted accommodation while their application is being processed. They are sent to local authorities that have agreed to participate in the asylum dispersal scheme.

Glasgow has long welcomed political refugees, with around 5,000 living there in the mid-2000s.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council told The Scotsman: “Glasgow has a long history of welcoming refugees and in 2000 the council entered into a formal arrangement with the Home Office to accommodate asylum seekers in the city.

“The council’s agreement to accommodate asylum seekers was terminated by the Home Office in November 2010.”

READ MORE: One in 11 UK asylum seekers is in Scotland

Stuart McDonald MP, the SNP’s Immigration, Asylum and Border Control spokesman, said: “The system for dispersing and housing asylum seekers across the UK – including Scotland – is completely unfit for purpose for a whole host of reasons.

“So while authorities such as Glasgow have a long and proud track record of taking on this responsibility, it is a stark contrast with the much better funded and planned Syrian vulnerable persons resettlement programme which has seen virtually all of Scotland’s councils involved.

“The SNP is fully behind calls by the Home Affairs Select Committee for a radical overhaul of the Compass system which would see greater accountability and proper funding so that more authorities would feel able to take on their share of responsibility for asylum seekers.“

READ MORE: Roza Shalih aims to become Scotland’s first elected asylum seeker

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