Campaign says no to G4S in NottinghamTagged as: asylum g4s housing migration
Published by group: Notts Indymedia
G4S, the world’s largest security company, have won a £135m public contract to provide accommodation for asylum seekers in the Midlands and East of England and the North East, Yorkshire and Humber regions. The contract will effectively mean the privatisation of housing for asylum seekers, who have previously been housed by housing associations. Campaigners from No to G4S are seeking to challenge the company’s role.
G4S previously lost their contract for “escorting” asylum seekers during removal after over 700 complaints of abuse and the death of Angolan asylum seeker, Jimmy Mubenga. G4S staff are still facing charges following his death.
The change will affect over 400 asylum seeking families and individuals will be dispersed to private landlords and hostels throughout the city, often miles away from their current homes. This will be accompanied by job losses in local authorities.
On 6th July, Nottingham Citizens for Sanctuary organised a public meeting featuring a Commission on Homelessness and Hope, featuring Nottingham & Notts Refugee Forum (NNRF), Unison, Himmah, Framework Housing Association, churches and mosques as well as the UK Borders Agency (UKBA) and G4S representatives. No to G4S claim that Citizens for Sanctuary are “already forming a close working relationship with UKBA/G4S”. The Commission heard testimony from an asylum seeker too afraid to attend who described how her house had been raided by G4S who denied her son medical treatment. She said she was “terrified by the idea of G4S being my landlord and would do anything to avoid them.”
Whilst UKBA and GFS representatives came with carefully prepared answers, when one asylum seeking member of the panel asked a spontaneous question he was silenced by a fellow panel member ringing a bell. Throughout the 2 hour meeting no one from the audience was permitted to ask question, although they were asked to volunteer to become part of a Welcome group to work alongside G4S to monitor new arrivals.
The Commission’s report has made three recommendations titled Accountability and Accommodation, Destitution and Dignity, and Transition, but UKBA and G4S representatives made clear that apart from receiving free training from specialists the commission acting as a signposting service, all the recommendations were refused.
The meeting ended with Commission panel member, Minister Karen Rooms, stating that “We can’t look at the past with this work”. NNRF Chair, Patsy Brand, said she “looked forward to working with UKBA and G4S into the future.”
As yet, no one outside of the procurement process has seen the contract.