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Glasgow City Council stands up for destitute asylum seekers

The following news, from the Scottish Refugee Council

On 28 June the Glasgow City Chambers passed a motion condemning UKBA’s policy of destitution for refused asylum seekers, following lobbying by the Scottish Refugee Council destitution. The Chamber also called on the UK Government to change its policy to allow local authorities to assist refugees in danger of destitution. Details of the motion are below along with a briefing for councillors from the Scottish Refugee Council. This could be a good model to try and replicate in other cities.

Asylum seekers – Motion dealt with, after division.

10 Councillor Aitken, seconded by Councillor McDonald, moved that “Council condemns the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) policy of destitution and the eviction of refused asylum seekers that is increasing the strain on the charities and communities supporting their most basic needs. Council believes that the number of destitute asylum seekers now living on the streets of Glasgow represents a humanitarian crisis that requires an urgent response.

Council endorses the Scottish Refugee Policy Reform conference report recommendation that all asylum seekers should be provided with UKBA cash support until they are granted status or leave the country.

Council therefore demands that the UK Government change existing rules which severely restrict local authorities in the support they can provide to failed asylum seekers. Council calls on the Chief Executive to write to the UK Government, seeking a change in policy to allow local authorities to assist refugees in danger of destitution.”

Councillor Kerr, seconded by Councillor Butler, moved as an amendment that “Glasgow City Council has a proud record of supporting asylum seekers and refugees, and will continue to do all in its power to welcome and enable them to play a full part in our city’s story.

Council instructs the Chief Executive to write to UKBA demanding it changes its policy of destitution and instead take full responsibility for their actions. The people of Glasgow, no matter how welcoming, cannot be expected to pick up the pieces where UKBA fails.

Council understands that monies are made available to other UK Local Authorities who have welcomed asylum seekers and the Scottish Government has received an allocation as part of its block grant. Therefore, Council will instruct the Chief Executive to write to the Scottish Government requesting that Glasgow receives its fair share of the integration monies made available to other
UK Local Authorities.

Council therefore demands that the UK Government change existing rules which severely restrict local authorities in the support they can provide to failed asylum seekers. Council calls on the Chief Executive to write to the UK Government, seeking a change in policy to allow local authorities to assist refugees in danger of destitution.”

On a vote being taken electronically, 27 members voted for the amendment and 41 for the motion, which was accordingly declared to be carried.