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Alex calls for enquiry into housing of asylum seekers


Alex Cunningham has today called for the Home Secretary to investigate the handling of contracts for housing asylum seekers by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) which impact directly on people in his Stockton North constituency.

In March 2012, G4S won part of the UKBA’s COMPASS (Commercial and Operational Managers Procuring Asylum Support Services project) contract after the responsibility for housing asylum seekers was opened to private competition.  G4S won two of the six contracts tendered, including the North East region which is sub-contracted to Stockton-based Jomast Developments.

Amid allegations that the housing and services provided are grossly unfit for purpose, with two Stockton residents this week giving evidence to a cross-party group of MPs and Peers on the demeaning conditions they have suffered, it was revealed that Local Authorities in Yorkshire have been forced to intervene after G4S failed to meet contractual obligations to re-house asylum seekers by 12 November.

Evgenia Vigovskaya, a Russian-born Stockton resident, described this week to The Inquiry into Asylum Support for Children and Young People how she and her son have been moved on numerous occasions and have now found themselves living in an unsuitable one bedroom flat.

Alex said:

“The evidence given to this week’s inquiry concerning the poor standards of services and accommodation in Stockton, along with the failures in Yorkshire to re-house asylum seekers within the contractually agreed timeframe, demonstrate serious failings with G4S as a provider of important services and raise severe concerns that the Government is simply not capable of managing UKBA effectively.

“Reports that the accommodation provided for young people and families seeking asylum is not fit for purpose are deeply worrying, and I will be writing to the Home Secretary to request that the contract awarded by UKBA be reviewed.  I am utterly appalled that Local Authorities have been required to intervene to help people as a result of UKBA’s efforts to reduce costs, and am shocked that the Government is failing to enforce suitable service standards.”