The UK Labour party has concerns about the allocation of asylum accommodation contract to private company, Serco
The international service company has been awarded contracts by the UK Home Office Visas and Immigration department for two regions of the new Asylum Accommodation and Support Services Contract (AASC), the North West of England and the Midlands & East of England. The total contract value is estimated to be £1.9 billion over a 10-year period.
Diane Abbott MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, responding to Caroline Nokes announcing the awarding of asylum accommodation contracts to outsourcers including Serco, said:
“These private companies have already failed to provide decent asylum accommodation, as they have failed in so many areas of social provision.
“The award of these contracts is a slap in the face to all those of who have suffered at their hands. Everyone should be able to access decent housing and the sooner these services are run by the public sector once more, the better.
“Private firms have no business running homes for asylum seekers. Labour will end this rotten system.”
This announcement follows the recent speech by Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who made a speech on the 7th January to explain the increased strength of UK government response to migrant-crossings, and alleviate some controversial comments made by the Home Secretary about asylum-seekers on the 2nd January:
“The migrants who choose to make the trip are putting their lives in grave danger and can, at times, also create dangerous situations for our rescue services.
“For example, we’re helping to create jobs, to build infrastructure, tackling modern slavery, providing education and delivering life-saving humanitarian assistance in response to conflicts and natural disasters.
“We’re also doing important work to undermine organised crime groups and we’ve committed £2.7 billion to the humanitarian response in Syria making us the second biggest unilateral donor to the region.”
Serco Group plc, also known as Serco or The Group, are currently looking after 17,000 asylum seekers. They have spoken of their recent contract award by the current UK government:
“For the two regions in aggregate the total contract value is estimated to be around £1.9bn over a 10-year term and this value will be initially added to our order book; the final contract value will reflect the actual Service User volumes and indexation adjustments over the life of the contract.”
There are concerns within the Labour Party that the care delivered by privatised companies is not appropriate, especially for a group of people who are rendered vulnerable by their need to seek asylum.