A REPORT into the care of New Scots during Covid-19 has found the long-term solution for contrasting approaches to asylum support by Holyrood and Westminster is further devolution.

The latest publication from the Independent Commission of Inquiry into Asylum Provision in Scotland focused on the experience of New Scots moving from homes to hotels in the first half of 2020 and found New Scots getting “caught in the middle” of the Home Office and Scottish integration efforts.

The report further stated in that phase two of the 6-month inquiry reinforced the “low competence bordering on chaos” during the removal of over 300 people from short term accommodation to hotels across Glasgow.

The publication considered the experience of asylum seekers, particularly surrounding two incidents; a suspected suicide and an incident in which a hotel resident stabbed six people at the Park Inn in Glasgow before being fatally shot by the Police, when making the conclusions.

During the pandemic, a contractor of the Home Office to supply short term accommodation, the Mears Group, said the decision to move people to hotels was made due to a shortage of suitable accommodation.

The report stated that the human rights-based approach supported by the Scottish Government to those seeking asylum in Scotland cannot be delivered as the system is.

The report recommends in the short term, Holyrood be more “proactive in wielding its devolved powers” and in the long term, the asylum system or larger areas of the system get devolved to Holyrood.

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“The Scottish Government has supported a more expansive view of the benefits of in-migration than government at Westminster. The Scottish Government’s Inquiry submission reiterates their opposition to many features of the asylum support regime, and support for a more holistic and human rights-based approach.”

“In the longer term, devolution of the asylum support system to the Scottish Government, or aspects thereof, could improve both its delivery and accountability,” the report concluded.

Further conclusions by the inquiry included the “immediate stop to further use of institutional accommodation” such as hotels and barracks, the NHS to be expanded “to cater for the health, physical and mental, of people seeking asylum” and for a mechanism to be found to “power and resource the New Scot’s strategy”.

The report also highlighted the kindness, care and compassion experienced by people seeking asylum in Glasgow and beyond.

In the report’s foreword, Baroness Helena Kennedy states: “I will never forget my meetings with people from the hotels whose warmth and humanity towards each other, urging each other to stay mentally strong, to hold it together, stood in such sharp contrast to the inhumanity to which we bore witness from the Home Office and its contractors.”

The report concludes by pointing to reforms being implemented by the Irish Government to its asylum determination system that places human rights, equality, and integration at the heart of its process.

It states: “This approach is, we suggest, one that could inform and guide reform.”

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A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government would like to thank the Asylum Inquiry Scotland for its report. Ministers are concerned about its content and believe it raises serious questions about the UK’s asylum system.

“The inquiry highlights the clear need for fundamental change so that the UK upholds its responsibility to recognise and protect people and treat them with compassion, dignity and human decency.

“The Social Justice Secretary will be raising the issues it details with the Home Secretary and will be seeking urgent talks at the earliest opportunity.”

Immigration control, asylum determination and asylum support are policy areas that are reserved to Westminster under the Scottish Devolution settlement and handled by the Home Office.

On June 7, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government Shona Robison, wrote to the then immigration minister, Kevin Foster MP, to raise concerns about whether lessons were being learned following the incident at the Park Inn on June 26 2020.

Robison previously wrote three times to the UK Government to raise concerns about the use of hotels to accommodate asylum seekers in Scotland, support provision for those accommodated and to call for meaningful engagement with the Scottish Government and local authorities on asylum dispersal.