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Archive for December 2005

Fears over company’s housing for asylum seekers

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The Herald (Glasgow)

A COMPANY under investigation by the government over allegations of financial irregularities and of providing homes unfit for habitation has bid for a multi-million pound deal to house asylum seekers. The London-based Angel Group, which strenuously denies the claims, could be awarded a government contract in January to house some of Glasgow’s estimated 6000 asylum seekers. The firm has had contracts with the Home Office through the National Asylum Support Service (Nass), for five years providing houses, flats and hostels, mainly in Yorkshire and north-east England. There are fears in Scotland that the involvement of the private sector could lead to asylum seekers being made to live in squalid conditions in the pursuit of profit. Angel Group said the allegations were “malicious nonsense” and the invention of former employees “who, having lost their jobs, had an axe to grind”. The Home Office’s accounts and audit unit is examining Angel Group. A spokesman for the Home Office said: “The investigation is still on-going so we can’t comment on specifics. But we are looking at the practices and the workings of Angel Group. This is in connection with alleged fraudulent activities Page 34 ‘We don’t want to go’; After fleeing violence, a Congolese asylumseeker family are being forced from the community they’ve called home for the past five years. Damien Henderson investigates The Herald (Glasgow) June 27, 2006 and the type of accommodation they provided and how they ran it. It is quite expansive.” Angel Group said: “Angel understands that the Home Office has all but completed its inquiry and it is confident. . . that it will be exonerated of all suggestions of wrongdoing. During the entire course of its contract with Nass, Angel has been subject to many hundreds of Nass inspections and it has received a satisfactory report in every case . . . Angel has no reason to suppose that the findings of the latest Home Office inquiry will be any different.” Along with some other private companies, Angel principally benefited from the government’s decision in 1999 to disperse asylum seekers from areas such as Kent in the south-east of England to the rest of the country. In April 2000, Angel Group bought an old nurse’s home in Newcastle and transformed it into a hostel, but shortly after it opened, asylum seekers rioted. The home is due to be closed. In August 2004, there were allegations that asylum seekers in Leeds were provided homes without gas or hot water, which Angel Group denied. Glasgow City Council’s contract with Nass finished in April. The council was given a 15-month extension while Nass put the contracts out to private tender. The Angel Group is contracted to provide around 3000 bed spaces, roughly 6-per cent of all Nass lettings and the firm was awarded a new contract in May for up to 15 months. The group is owned by Julia Davey and has more than 50 subsidiaries. In 2003, she paid herself a salary of GBP58,000 as well as collecting nearly GBP1m in dividends. Sandra White, the SNP MSP for Glasgow said: “I am extremely concerned that whilst the set- up we have at present is not perfect, at least it is monitored, contactable, local, and most importantly accessible to myself and others. If these proposed changes go ahead, we will have a private company operating from outwith the area with no moral or social responsibility. If their past record is anything to go by, I would be very worried about the prospects of asylum seekers.”


Written by Concerned

December 22, 2005 at 10:40 am

Posted in Uncategorized