A SCOTS MP has called for a radical overhaul of “our broken asylum accommodation system” after the UK’s highest court gave the green light to lock-change evictions – which do not necessitate a court order – of refugees in Glasgow.

The Supreme Court refused Kurdish-Iraqi asylum seeker Shakar Ali permission to appeal in her case against Serco Group, which had provided housing for refugees until it lost the Home Office contract early last year.

It said Ali’s application did not raise an arguable point of law and its decision marks the end of her appeal route.

Serco had put other eviction cases on hold pending the outcome of this appeal.

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Stuart McDonald, shadow SNP spokesperson on immigration, asylum and border control, told The National: “The decision by the Supreme Court not to hear an appeal is hugely disappointing.

“There may or may not be other legal routes for challenging lock-change evictions.

“But that shouldn’t be required – it is the responsibility of the Home Office to radically overhaul our broken asylum accommodation system.”

McDonald added: “Ensuring proper oversight by the courts of any eviction proceedings would be just the first step in that process of restoring accountability of private companies operating the accommodation – but a very necessary first step, making sure vulnerable people are not left destitute, homeless and without any means of support.”

Govan Law Centre (GLC), which had helped Ali bring the case, said last month that it had secured a further three-month stay for other refugees who were affected by the pending evictions.

There are thought to be around 150 asylum seekers involved and the centre said it would now consider what further steps, if any, it could take.

Mike Dailly, solicitor advocate for the GLC, said: “We are deeply disappointed with this decision, but our immediate concern is for the health, safety and well-being of our clients and everyone in Serco accommodation in Glasgow during the Covid-19 crisis.

“We hope Serco will act responsibly and in the wider public interest in the present circumstances.

“I wouldn’t like to think they would throw people out onto the streets in the middle of a pandemic.”

Robina Qureshi, director of Positive Action in Housing, which helps refugees with accommodation, said: “At a time when every government, housing and financial institution is working to ensure people do not get put out of their homes, it is

deeply disappointing that Serco has now been given carte blanche by the UK Supreme Court to evict refused refugees from housing in Glasgow.

“We hope that Serco will not act out lock change evictions at this time of emergency when more vulnerable people are at increased risk of homelessness.”

In a statement, Jenni Halliday, Serco contract director for asylum accommodation and support services, told The National: “We are pleased that the Scottish Supreme Court has refused this leave to appeal and that our legal position has once again been confirmed.

“Serco has ceased repossession activity some weeks ago as a result of the Covid-19 situation.”

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