Glasgow & West Scotland

Y People to take over Glasgow asylum seeker housing

Youngsters on asylum seeker march
Image caption Asylum seekers protested at the UK Border Agency's handling of the issue

Asylum seekers in Glasgow are to get a new landlord - five months after the contract to house them was cancelled in controversial circumstances.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) terminated its deal with Glasgow City Council in November, saying it was too expensive.

UKBA was criticised for mishandling the issue after a poorly-worded letter suggested hundreds of families may have to leave their homes within days.

The contract will now be taken on by Y People - formerly YMCA.

Staff redeployed

Glasgow City Council said it had approved a deal to transfer asylum seeker accommodation and support staff to Y People.

Under the terms of the deal, more than 1,000 asylum seekers will be able to remain in their current accommodation while their claims are processed.

Jobs for those working in the council's asylum support will also be protected with about half being seconded to Y-People and the remainder being redeployed with the council's social work services.

Image caption The UK Border Agency is to help cover council staff costs during the transfer

The UK Border Agency has agreed to cover the cost of these staff until they are redeployed.

Councillor Elaine McDougall, chair of the council's asylum working group, said the deal would preserve existing arrangements and save jobs.

"Our priority was always to ensure continuity for asylum seekers and that has been achieved," she said.

"It has been widely acknowledged that UKBA's decision to terminate the contract led to a lot of concern among asylum seekers.

"But thanks to the council's persistence asylum seekers will be able to remain in Glasgow as they await decisions on their status with jobs also protected."

Joe Connolly, chief executive of Ypeople, said: "Our objective throughout the process has been to ensure the minimum amount of disruption to service users.

"We would like to reassure them that Ypeople will deliver a service which fully meets their needs."

Asylum seekers in the city held several demonstrations after being sent the controversial letter in November.

The charity group, Positive Action in Housing, describe it as "utterly shameful".

And the Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster later described the agency's handling of the issue as "inappropriate at best and inhumane at worst".

UK immigration minister Damien Green later apologised for the "inappropriateness" of the letter.

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