Protests in Glasgow highlight need for change

    A Scottish executive minister has broken ranks and called for
    the voucher payment scheme for asylum seekers to be scrapped,
    writes Reg McKay.

    Malcolm Chisholm, deputy minister for community care, made his
    statement following a week of civil demonstrations on the streets
    of Glasgow after the murder of a young asylum seeker.

    “The negative and stigmatising effect of the voucher scheme was
    forcibly drawn to my attention by asylum seekers when I visited
    them in Glasgow in June,” Chisholm said.

    He referred to the current review of the voucher scheme by the
    Home Office as an opportunity to end the system.

    The murder of Firsat Yildiz, 22, has also forced Glasgow Council
    to revise its dispersal policy, which currently involves housing
    the majority of asylum seekers in the Sighthill area where Yildiz
    was killed.

    The council publicly accepted that their support services for
    asylum seekers could improve and have appointed Dawn Corbett,
    currently a policy adviser with the council, as co-ordinator of all
    services to asylum seekers.

    It has also announced a package of services to all residents in
    Sighthill, including a new drop-in centre at the local community
    education centre, extra concierge staff to improve security, and a
    guarantee of monthly visits to each asylum seeker by support
    workers. Plans to move further asylum seekers into the area were

    Finally, Glasgow Council is to end its role as the sole local
    authority accommodating asylum seekers in Scotland. West
    Dunbartonshire and Fife Councils are to house 50 and 100
    respectively, with at least one other council expected to make a
    similar decision in the near future.




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