Wed 27 Feb, 2019

There is no blanket ban on using public funds to provide accommodation to asylum seekers who face destitution. On the contrary, there is a legal basis for supporting charities to do this work on humanitarian grounds.

Scottish Greens MSP Patrick Harvie has called on the Scottish Government to step up action on emergency housing for asylum seekers, after new guidance was issued today (27 February 2019) by local government body COSLA.

The guidance explores how councils can provide support for vulnerable people who are classed under UK immigration law as having no recourse to public funds. It clarifies that there is no general prohibition on using public funds and that charities can be supported to provide assistance in line with their legal objectives to relieve poverty and destitution.

The Government has committed to an asylum accommodation pilot in Glasgow by accepting the recommendations of its own Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group, but nine months on there’s no clarity on when and how this will happen. 

Glasgow’s Green MSP, Patrick Harvie, said:

“This new guidance is very welcome as it makes clear there is no blanket ban on using public funds to provide accommodation to asylum seekers who face destitution. On the contrary, there is a legal basis for supporting charities to do this work on humanitarian grounds.

“The Government committed to piloting a new approach nine months ago but there’s been painfully slow progress since. They now need to show they grasp the urgency of this situation by putting the necessary funding and a clear plan in place as soon as possible.”

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