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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