In a report this week that scrutinises the use of asylum accommodation and immigration detention during the pandemic, the Home Affairs Committee have raised concerns that urgent action is needed to protect vulnerable people from a second wave of Covid-19.
The report also raises concerns about the use of hotels and particularly criticises Mears Group for how they have dealt with the crisis in Glasgow.
In the past few months in Glasgow, two people have died, six were hospitalised and countless others have been traumatised in two tragic events in hotels. The Committee recommends the ‘Home Office urgently review the way Mears has been operating during the pandemic, to consider its poor management of service users’ welfare, and the wider public health consequences of its approach’. We agree.
We are relieved that everyone accommodated in the Park Inn has now been moved into more suitable accommodation. But hundreds of people are still being held in hotels in Glasgow with no financial support and little control over their day-to-day lives, the same conditions which saw two deaths in the Home Office’s care in hotels in Glasgow.
We urge the Home Secretary not only to ensure her investigation into the hotels crisis in Glasgow is thorough and robust and transparent, but that, as the Committee recommends, it involves those directly affected.
The Committee is right to conclude that in Glasgow (or anywhere) ‘asylum seekers should not have been moved to new accommodation during the pandemic without justified and urgent reasons for doing so or without a vulnerability assessment demonstrating that the move could be made safely’. Those directly affected and many others have said this from the outset. It is for the Home Office and Mears Group to ensure this never happens again, and to ensure everyone’s safety in the face of a second wave.
Read the full report here: HASC report