ALMOST 150 asylum seekers facing eviction will be given urgent, intensive advocacy support through a £252,000 Scottish Government funding package.

The money will be shared between organisations in Glasgow to help ensure asylum seekers have access to legal professionals and other services.

It comes after a Court of Session ruling last month, which deemed lock-change evictions against asylum seekers lawful by the Home Office private contractor Serco, left around 150 people facing eviction.

The people affected are not provided accommodation support under Home Office policy because their applications for asylum have failed. However, solicitors acting on their behalf say asylum decisions are often reversed on appeal.

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Following the case, Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Greens co-convener, said the decision put people at “immediate risk of street homelessness” and asked Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister’s Questions what the Scottish Government planned to do. The First Minister said she agreed with Harvie and was “horrified at the implications of this judgement” and a situation which she said was a reflection of an “inhumane asylum system”.

The National: Patrick Harvie

She said: “If lock-change evictions are legal – and of course the Human Rights Act is reserved to Westminster – they certainly are not moral.”

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said yesterday: “We all have a moral duty to help those most in need, and we want to provide a humanitarian response to the plight of people facing eviction and homelessness.

“This funding will ensure advocacy and legal support are available for those who desperately need it and ensure people’s dignity and rights are respected.

“Previous UK governments have failed to fix their failed asylum process. This cannot continue. It is now the time for them to finally find a long-term, sustainable and humane alternative to the asylum process.

“I will be writing to UK ministers to remind them of their role to not make anyone who has sought safety in this country homeless and destitute.”

The organisations sharing the funding include Glasgow City Mission, Glasgow Night Shelter for Destitute Asylum Seekers, Scottish Refugee Council, Govan Law Centre and Shelter Scotland.

New contract provider Mears, which took over from Serco, has agreed to improve the support for asylum seekers, help prevent destitution and replace lock-change evictions with a proper court process.