Scotland’s highest court rules ‘lock-change evictions’ are legal, putting many people seeking asylum at risk of homelessness

Last week, Scotland’s highest court ruled that lock-change evictions of people seeking asylum without court orders are legal.

This means that those whose asylum claims have been refused can be evicted, putting them at immediate risk of homelessness at an extremely vulnerable point in their lives, and leaving them without the legal protections that citizens living in the UK are entitled to.

NACCOM is disappointed by this decision, which follows an appeal against the original court ruling. The ongoing #StopLockChangeEvictions campaign in Scotland has highlighted how the current asylum support system across the UK regularly evicts people seeking protection, forcing them into destitution.

It is deeply concerning that 150 people could be evicted in Glasgow because of this ruling, yet this situation occurs on a weekly basis across the UK, where Home Office policy routinely makes people destitute. Between 2018-19, 28 NACCOM member projects reported that at least 162 people south of the Scottish border accessed emergency charity accommodation as a direct result of having their asylum support withdrawn. We know this is only a small proportion of those who are affected.

NACCOM’s annual research, which evidences destitution amongst people seeking asylum and refugees in the UK, shows that safe and secure accommodation can make a vital difference in being able to progress ones’ asylum case. Last year, 54% of destitute people accommodated by the network positively moved on to some form of statutory support. Of the 339 people who positively moved on, 63 were known to be granted some form of leave to remain in the UK.

The current asylum system does not allow for much-needed stability. People accommodated by the network find themselves in a rotating system, moving between different types of support as their cases continue for years and their life situations change.

Glasgow currently accommodates the largest proportion of families supported by Section 95 in the UK. The lock-change evictions ruling shows how families are pushed from pillar to post, between privatised services and emergency council housing. We urgently need a joined-up system that supports the most vulnerable and supports people to move forward.

NACCOM stands with our Scottish members and all those fighting the case against destitution in Scotland.

For more information and to find out how you can support, you can read this briefing from the Scottish Refugee Council. http://www.scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk/qa-serco/

 

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