Asylum takes centre stage at SNP Conference

Media Advisory

Scottish Refugee Council at SNP Conference

Thursday, October 15th 2009


Asylum takes centre stage at SNP conference


The unfair and unjust treatment of those seeking asylum be a major talking at the SNP conference this week.


On Friday October 16 Cllr James Dornan, SNP leader of Glasgow City Council will propose the motion to condemn the ‘abhorrent voucher system’ that leaves hundreds of asylum seekers living in poverty and isolation.


Scottish Refugee Council has long campaigned for the abolition of a cashless system for those who are awaiting a decision on their asylum case. Asylum seekers whose claims have been refused but who are unable to return to their country of origin are eligible for a very limited form of support called ‘Section 4’. This comes in the form of a card redeemable at selected supermarkets and shops.


The cards are not redeemable on any other service including travel or telephone payment. We believe the Section 4 system is degrading and isolating and is needlessly expensive to administrate.


Over 1200 people have surviving on Section 4 support in Scotland since 2005. Large numbers of Scottish Refugee Council clients have been forced to spend many years surviving on vouchers, in some cases up to four years.


New research will be released by Scottish Refugee Council at our annual conference on October 23rd. The research will detail many and shocking cases of the inhumanity of Section 4 support system.


For more details and full briefing please contact Clare Harris, Media and Communications Officer on 0141 223 7927 or 07734 030763.


Dates and Times for Asylum-related events at the SNP conference this week: See over




  • Motions


Friday 16th October: Conference Motion no 19, ‘Asylum Seekers’

Session 3: 3.10pm-3.45pm

Proposed: Glasgow Cathcart Constituency Branch

Condemning Section 4 Voucher System


Friday 16th October: Conference Motion no 21, ‘UK Border Agency’

Session 3: 3.10pm-3.45pm

Proposed: Anne McLaughlin MSP

Condemning refusal of UK Border Agency to work with members of Scottish Parliament seeking to represent constituents


Sunday 18th October: Conference Motion no 37, ‘International LGBT Persecution’

Session 8: 10am-10.30am

Proposed: Anne McLaughlin MSP

Rejecting UK Government statements that homophobic laws are not sufficient grounds on which to seek asylum


  • Scottish Refugee Council Fringe Meeting


Saturday 17 October, 5.30pm-6.30pm

‘The Future of Migration in Scotland: Full Citizens or Making up the Numbers?’

Chair Anne McLaughlin MSP


Pete Wishart MP, SNP Home Affairs Spokesman

John Wilkes, Chief Executive, Scottish Refugee Council

Chris Oswald, Head of Policy and Parliamentary Affairs, Equality and Human Rights Commission