Serco to ‘pause lock change notices’ to allow case to be tested in court

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Serco have paused their policy of changing locks on the homes of those claiming asylum believing that the case will be challenged in the Courts in the coming days

The company will extend the notice period by 21 days for the six people current subject to lock change notices, giving them more time to seek representation or move out.

Protest and burning of copies of eviction letters outside the UK Home Office and SERCO's offices at 200 Brand Street, Glasgow ''Refugee homelessness charity, Picture; John Devlin

Protest and burning of copies of eviction letters outside the UK Home Office and SERCO's offices at 200 Brand Street, Glasgow ''Refugee homelessness charity, Picture; John Devlin

In a statement they said: We unreservedly welcome such a legal challenge, as it will enable all parties to clarify an area of Scottish law which has so far been untested.

“This should mean that all parties will get clarity as to how the law will apply to people who refuse to move on from the free accommodation provided to them whilst their claims for asylum are being adjudicated.

READ MORE: Hundreds attend asylum seeker evictions protest in Glasgow

“We have strong legal advice that our approach is fully within the law, but we think it would be helpful for all interested parties to have the Courts confirm the position.

“We will pause all further lock-change notices to other asylum seekers who have received negative decisions whilst the law is being tested and clarified.

“This will also give stakeholders who support asylum seekers more time to prepare for what is likely to be an increase in the number of people seeking their help.”

Serco, said they have been the subject of some pretty vile abuse over recent days, say they would like to take the opportunity through this statement of having a “right of reply”.

The stated that they care for around 17,000 asylum seekers in the UK providing accommodation and welfare under contract to the Home Office.

READ MORE: Brian Wilson: Serco right about one thing in asylum seeker eviction row

5,000 of these people are in Scotland, and almost all of them are in Glasgow, which is the only area within Scotland that has been willing to extend help on any material scale to asylum seekers.

In a statement they said they were in “an impossible position” and that “nobody wants to make someone who is in difficult circumstances homeless, and in many cases our housing officers have been caring for these people and, often, their children, for months or years.”

The added: “Serco is neither a welfare agency, nor a charity; providing accommodation, paying the rent, rates, water, electricity and heating costs a lot of money, and the Home Office, as taxpayers would expect it to be, is rigorous about cutting off support once someone has reached the end of the process, leaving Serco to pick up the bills.”

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