The Home Office is to start the process of moving asylum seekers out of hotels in Glasgow and back into “more permanent accommodation”.
The U-turn in policy came yesterday afternoon, just hours after a charity working with asylum seekers in the city called for an urgent, independent inquiry into the events leading up to last week’s brutal knife attack.
Six people were injured in the incident at the Park Inn on Friday – three asylum seekers, two hotel staff, and PC David Whyte. Two of the asylum seekers in the hospital are under 18.
The attacker, 28-year-old Badreddin Abadlla Adam, from Sudan, was shot dead by armed police.
There have been questions for private housing provider Mears, subcontracted by the Home Office, to look after the asylum seekers in Glasgow.
At the start of lockdown, with very little notice, Mears moved 321 people from their self-contained apartments to hotels across the city.
Those relocated included, pregnant women, trafficked women, torture victims, family groups and vulnerable people.
Last week it emerged that, in a possible breach of the asylum accommodation contract, the housing provider had not carried out vulnerability assessments on the people being moved.
Robina Qureshi, the director of Positive Action in Housing said, the Home Office had treated people like “Amazon parcels”.
She said: “You and I know that staying inside a house is difficult enough through the pandemic.”
“People that Mears took and the Home Office uprooted in March at the height of the lockdown were vulnerable people.”
“They were not Amazon parcels, they were human beings with feelings and thoughts and fears, and they were terrified of what was happening next and why they were put into these hotels.”
Glasgow Central MP Alison Thewliss accused Mears of having “lied to everybody”.
She urged the Home Office to suspend its contract with the firm and pointed out that she and colleagues had raised concerns about the company less than two weeks ago.
Thewliss said the relocation of the asylum seekers had not been done properly.
She said: “They did not consult as they are obliged to do with Glasgow City Council or anyone else, contrary to the oral and written evidence for the Home Affairs Select Committee by Mears boss John Taylor.”