Protest over plan to re-home hundreds of asylum seekers

Image caption, The UK Border Agency said it needed to reduce costs

Nearly 200 campaigners have taken part in protests after it emerged hundreds of asylum seekers could be moved from Glasgow City Council housing.

It comes 10 days after the UK Border Agency cancelled a contract with Glasgow City Council to provide housing to the asylum seekers.

The contract was axed after the two sides failed to reach agreement over the costs involved.

More than 600 families received letters warning them they could be re-homed.

The charity group, Positive Action in Housing (PAiH), has condemned the move.

They are co-ordinating protests outside Glasgow City Chambers in the city's George Square.

Robina Qureshi, director of the charity, said: "For the UKBA to press ahead with mass removal is utterly shameful.

"They don't give a damn for the turmoil they have thrown 600 families into when they sent out that callous letter on 5 November, telling them they would have to leave within three days to be moved somewhere within the 'Scotland region'.

"The irony is that, even if the families are moved out, the council services will still be needed by these families, greater strain will be placed on our social services, homelessness services and the health service.

"So with or without a contract, the council will be forced to cough up."

'Future developments'

It emerged earlier this month that the UK Border Agency had cancelled the contract with Glasgow City Council after the two sides disagreed over the level of funding required to meet the asylum seekers' housing needs.

The local authority currently provides accommodation to 1,311 asylum seekers in 584 properties.

Phil Taylor, regional director of the UK Border Agency, said he was hopeful that the majority of asylum seekers would remain in their current accommodation.

He said the agency was working with other housing providers, such as YMCA Glasgow and the Angel Group, to ensure asylum seekers "continue to be properly accommodated while their asylum claims are considered and their appeals to the courts are concluded".

Mr Taylor added: "Letters have been sent to all asylum seekers currently housed by Glasgow City Council, explaining what could happen if they are required to move accommodation and further communication is planned to keep asylum seekers advised of future developments.

"We are very hopeful that the majority of the asylum seekers affected by this change of contract will remain in their current accommodation.

"If a move to new accommodation is required we will aim to give at least 14 days notice, where possible, and the costs of the move will fall to the new accommodation provider and not to the asylum seekers themselves."

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