Court of Session rules on lawfulness of Serco's pursuit of forced evictions

Housing
Art by BRC's Voices Network

Last August, housing provider Serco announced its intention to issue lock change notices to hundreds of men and women in Glasgow. Today the Court of Session delivered its ruling on the case.

Speaking in response to today's ruling, Graham O'Neill, Policy Officer at Scottish Refugee Council said:

“People in Scotland are protected from summary eviction and immediate homelessness under mainstream Scots housing law. But today’s ruling states that a whole group of men and women are outside this protection, denying them the same rights as everyone else in Scotland. There are serious questions to be asked about Westminster legislation that predates devolution superseding Scottish legislation in this way, and we urge the Scottish Parliament to consider this as a matter of urgency.

“Establishing false divisions among people in Scotland is also totally contrary to Scotland’s commitment to supporting successful integration of New Scots and new communities. We believe it’s also contrary to the way most people in Scotland feel about our responsibility to help people seeking refugee protection and the type of society we want to live in.

“We are very worried about the consequences of this ruling. We are already noticing an increase in anxiety, confusion and even panic among the people we work with who worry day-to-day about being forced into homelessness and destitution.

“We will continue to help people explore the various options open to them and remind people of their rights, regardless of their immigration status. It’s important to remember that Serco’s contract in Glasgow ends in September. The new housing provider, Mears Group, has not yet defined their policy on supporting people at the end of the asylum process and we have offered our support to help them seek alternatives to keep people from street homelessness.

"Destitution is not an inevitable outcome of seeking refugee protection. It is a brutal and avoidable Home Office policy that was a precursor to the wider raft of hostile environment policies that we now see affecting more and more people and threatening all our rights."