HUNDREDS of people last night protested against the eviction of asylum seekers from their homes, at a city centre rally.

The Scottish Refugee Council was among the agencies directing people to the event at Glasgow’s Buchanan Street, at which the city council said it will establish a taskforce to help those threatened with the loss of their homes.

As many as 300 adults and families will lose their accommodation under a decision announced by Home Office contractor Serco. All are “failed” asylum seekers with no recourse to public funds. The move has prompted an outcry from charities, housing associations, politicians and the public, with Home Secretary Sajid Javid urged to overhaul the rules.

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Yesterday, Church of Scotland minister the Rev Brian Casey invited Javid to visit his parish in the north of Glasgow to meet those affected and “tell me they are at it”.

In a letter to the Tory Cabinet Minister, he wrote: “It would be absolutely unconscionable to think that human beings, no matter what legal status they may have, are tossed out on the street, children included, to live an uncertain future in a city they regard as home.”

Casey went on: “UK citizens in my parish and around Glasgow are helping asylum seekers furnish their homes despite having very little themselves. The people of Glasgow care and I would ask that you and your department start to care, too.”

The change comes one year before the end of Serco’s contract to provide housing for asylum seekers.

Explaining the change, the company said it could no longer afford to allow people to stay on when no money was being paid on their behalf by the UK Government.

This includes applicants who have not exhausted the appeals process and still stand a chance of securing residency. Such accommodation was provided by local authorities before privatisation in 2012 and the new deal, which comes into effect in 2019, will run for 10 years.

An expression of interest lodged by Glasgow City Council was rejected late last year, with leader Susan Aitken voicing concern about the process.

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Now she and Labour councillor Frank McAveety, together with Martha Wardrop of the Greens, have urged Javid to safeguard the 300 in a joint letter with all seven Glasgow MPs. Campaigning legal practice the Govan Law Centre confirmed it is working with the politicians and charities “with a view to raising legal proceedings to prevent Serco from summarily evicting people who are asylum seekers”.

Principal solicitor Mike Dailly said: “These are very vulnerable families living in our city and they deserve full legal protection to ensure that due process is being followed.

“This is a complex area of law and its very unlikely vulnerable people can just be summarily evicted in the way Serco proposes.

“Scots common law has long since prohibited eviction without due process of law against residential occupiers. In Scotland, it is generally necessary to obtain a decree for ejection from the court as opposed to taking the law into you own hands, which is generally a criminal offence and a civil wrong.”

Tenants union Living Rent confirmed its intention to take direct action, citing the efforts of rent strike leader Mary Barbour during the First World War.

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The organisation said: “Glasgow has a long and proud history of defending its most vulnerable tenants. We intend to rally the working-class communities of Glasgow to once again pick up the baton of self- defence against these forced evictions which would leave hundreds of people homeless on our streets.”

At last night’s protest, Glasgow University’s Professor Alison Phipps, Unesco chair for refugee integration and Scottish Refugee Council ambassador, told the crowds: “It is not true that changing Serco will change everything. That’s rearranging the deck chairs on the Titantic.”

The Home Office said: “It is right that we prepare for someone’s removal if they do not have a lawful basis to stay in the UK.”