THE ASYLUM TIME BOMB; Racist Backlash Warning as Damning Report Predicts Rising Anger

Daily Mail (London), December 14, 2004 | Go to article overview

THE ASYLUM TIME BOMB; Racist Backlash Warning as Damning Report Predicts Rising Anger


Byline: GRAHAM GRANT

SCOTLAND is facing a racist 'backlash' against the soaring number of asylum seekers, a new report has warned.

Racially-motivated attacks are already at a record high - but researchers fear they could rocket further due to a feeling that asylum seekers are receiving 'preferential treatment'.

Hostility is also being fuelled by the fact that many of those whose applications fail end up living on the streets as homeless people after being thrown out of their council houses.

And the independent report found that many of those whose applications succeed are leaving Scotland as soon as they are given the right to remain in the UK. This means that after months or years of staying north of the Border at taxpayers' expense, they disappear without contributing to the economy.

The impact of the Government's asylum dispersal policy is assessed in the new study called Building Bridges, by Dr Karen Wren of the Scottish Centre for Research on Social Justice (SCRSJ).

Her report warns of a looming 'racist backlash' and presents a damning critique of the entire process of dispersing asylum seekers to Scotland, which it says was introduced too rapidly. The report was released last week but

the most damning information about the failures of the dispersal system and other criticisms are 'buried' towards the end of the study, which meant they were not publicised at the time.

The Scottish Daily Mail revealed earlier this year that racist attacks in Glasgow had soared by 82 per cent to 195 in only 12 months.

The new report comes as separate Government figures reveal the top UK destination for asylum seekers is the city's Springburn area, with 2,120 now living there.

The top ten also includes Govan, with 1,105.

Most of Scotland's asylum seekers are housed in Glasgow, where council leaders are reviewing their contract with the Home Office to provide housing for them and education for their children.

The report says there is a sense among residents of the city that applicants are given 'preferential treatment', citing the example of asylum seeker children who attend bilingual units at Castlemilk and Drumchapel High Schools.

The Drumchapel unit has created 'major problems', the report says, because it was located in an area where there were relatively few asylum seekers, which meant children were bussed in from other areas.

' Free transport provision for asylum seekers had created tensions, as it was perceived by some residents as preferential treatment,' the report says.

Describing the dispersal policy as lacking 'coherence', the study says problems have been caused by the fact that Glasgow City Council is now legally bound to evict asylum seekers whose application fails. …

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