Scottish Refugee Council has drawn up a manifesto for refugee protection.
We will be looking more closely at each of our key manifesto asks in the lead-up to the general election, and at events which have happened recently to bring these points into focus. We encourage you to read each party’s manifesto on refugee protection.
The asylum dispersal system must be radically overhauled to ensure that it works for all.
This is to ensure that welcoming communities have resources available and feel informed, and that newcomers feel safe and welcomed.
There are three underlying issues behind the persistent problems in this outsourced public service:
1) The private companies running asylum accommodation are accountable only to the Home Office and not to the local authorities, services and communities where they operate.
2) The Home Office provides no direct funding to local authorities and services in recognition of their being in asylum dispersal areas.
3) The UK asylum system is mired in delays to asylum decisions, which often are overturned on appeal. But for those refused, destitution in their dispersal areas remains Home Office policy.
What needs to change?
We believe there are three solutions to achieve dignified housing in a community-based model:
1) That local authorities have formal oversight and accountability over the private companies running this service, including the ability to control the pace and nature of dispersal in their area. And ultimately, accommodation provision should not be outsourced to private companies such as Serco or Mears Group.
2) That the UK Home Office provides adequate funding to local authorities and public and charity services so that they can support people to settle into their new local communities.
3) That destitution is removed from the UK asylum system and replaced with a new model that allows people to make informed choices about their future.
Only one party refers to dispersal and housing issues in their manifesto. We encourage you to read all party manifestos to establish their position on refugee rights and protection ahead of tomorrow’s General Election vote.
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