Church of Scotland debates: Harvie calls for a fresh approach to Asylum provision

Following a series of damning criticisms of current private sector providers, Serco and its subcontractor, Orchard and Shipman, Scottish Greens Co-convenor Patrick Harvie is calling for a fresh approach to service provision for asylum seekers in Scotland.  Harvie will make his announcement at an election debate on Monday 4th April at the Church of Scotland Assembly Hall, chaired by Kirk Moderator the Rev Angus Morrison.

Despite housing, education, health and a range of other services needed by asylum seekers all being devolved, the Scottish Government currently has little ability to intervene when physical standards or the treatment of individuals is deemed unacceptable.  
Speaking ahead of the debate, Harvie said:

"The level of voluntary activism in support of asylum seekers in Scotland is inspiring, and it stems from the natural human empathy we feel when we see people in crisis. But under the current Home Office arrangements we are forced to stand by while people are subjected to intolerable treatment in substandard housing, in our own communities. I know that Scotland can do better.

"If returned to Parliament, I will be calling on the Scottish Government to put together a bid to take over the direct provision of all devolved services for asylum seekers from the Home Office's private sector suppliers. Working with Scotland's social housing sector, charities, and indeed church communities, we can provide the joined-up service that's needed. The expertise in delivering housing, health, education and social care exists here in Scotland, and we have the will to ensure that standards are high. Asylum seekers in our communities have been through too much already, and they shouldn't have to face abuse, degrading conditions or destitution in 21st century Scotland.

"I am sure that, as they have countless times before before, members of the Church of Scotland and our other faith communities will join this call for Scotland to take the lead within these islands by treating asylum seekers with the dignity, compassion and common decency they deserve."