G4S is the UK's biggest private security company, with its government contracts alone worth over £600 million. Responsible for security services, managing detention centres, prisons, and 675 court and police station holding cells, G4S have also just been granted the £100 million contract for providing 10,000 security guards for the upcoming olympics.

Whilst G4S still seem to be government favourites, their record is far from spotless. The firm lost their previous 'forcible deportation' contract last September after receiving 773 complaints of abuse – both verbal and physical. The final straw came with the death of Jimmy Mubenga in October 2010, an Angolan asylum seeker who died as a result of his forced deportation by G4S guards. Two of the guards are on bail facing criminal charges, whilst G4S is still waiting to hear whether they are to face corporate manslaughter charges.

Now, asylum seekers in Yorkshire and Humberside are expected to accept this multi-national, money-hungry, security company as their landlords.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

And so it begins...

As Serco are set for their November takeover of asylum seekers' social housing in Scotland, it has already been reported that 100 asylum seekers living in Glasgow have been told to leave their homes by previous contract holder, Y People.

Y People, formally known as YMCA Glasgow, was previously responsible for housing dispersed asylum seekers to Glasgow who are awaiting decision from the UKBA. Losing the huge housing contract to Serco in March, Y People has been forced to serve certain residents with eviction notices as many of their rental contracts are set to run out in May. 

This is a process we can expect to see replicated across the country. As the multinational corporations move in, thousands of asylum seekers will only been seen as a form of collateral damage rather than at the centre of service provision. Previous contract holders, still managing certain contracts whilst handing others over to Serco, G4S or Reliance Security, will be left in a complex state of limbo. In the words of Joe Connelly, Y People's Chief Executive, "We [Y People] have a contract extension until November, but we don't know what that means."As support networks are dismantled to pave the way for the full privatisation of asylum seekers' social housing, it would be naive to think that there will be no tangible victim. In the words of Michael Collins, of the Anti-Deportation Campaign, things are simple: "These people will become homeless and destitute."  

Whilst the contracts have been awarded to G4S, Serco and Reliance, no safety nor dignity has been secured for the thousands of asylum seekers that are forced into precarious lives in the UK. As the notorious A4E are the preferred bidders for the Equality and Human Rights Commission's helpline, multinational security companies scrap over new policing contracts and VirginCare start to provide community health services in Surrey, the rights of vulnerable individuals are becoming increasingly tertiary to government ideology and economic jargon. Placing critical service provision at the whims of the commercial marketplace once again reaffirms the government's zeal for profit over people; the yields of privatisation over public service. 

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