Sunday, 21 September 2014

Concern as deadline looms and firm fails to find private accommodation

G4S has 10 days left to rehouse 349 people

G4S has 10 days to find new homes for at least 349 asylum seekers in the north of England to avoid breaking the terms of its contract with the UK Border Agency.

The contractor promised to rehouse asylum seekers in Yorkshire and Humberside by 12 November after outbidding councils in the region which had provided the service previously.

Leeds Council is still housing 167 people while Kirklees Council is housing 182. It is understood Barnsley Council is still housing some of its 258 asylum seekers.

The delays have sparked fears among groups working with asylum seekers that hundreds of people could be pushed into poor-quality housing as G4S rushes to find private sector accommodation for them.

The UKBA awarded G4S the contract in March. The value of the six contracts awarded to three firms over six years is £620 million.

Inside Housing reported in August the security firm was struggling to find private rented sector accommodation in Yorkshire. At the time, G4S said the deadline for moving people was 2 November. It now says it has until 12 November.

A spokesperson for Kirklees Council said it views ‘the current situation with extreme concern’.

G4S has moved all asylum seekers being housed in 76 Sheffield Council homes. But groups working with asylum seekers in Yorkshire say some of these individuals have been moved into poor-quality housing and away from the area.

Campaigner John Grayson said: ‘They are moving people into very poor properties and have moved them in a very disorganised and stressful way.’

Human rights law firm Public Interest Lawyers plans to lodge two judicial reviews to stop families being moved far away and into unsuitable accommodation.

G4S is also contracted to house asylum seekers in the midlands. Birmingham-based charity Asylum Support and Immigration Resource Team described a case in which a 71-year-old woman spent six hours in a van with all male staff who did not speak her language and no food and water, before being returned to the original property. G4S said it will investigate the matter.

A spokesperson for G4S said: ‘We continue to work with UK Border Agency and local partners, including local authorities, to support people who need to be re-housed through this change of contract.’

A spokesperson for UKBA said: ‘We expect the new accommodation providers to fulfil the terms of the contract.’

Newsletter Sign-up

More Newsletters



  • Asylum accommodation: questions to ask

    11 February 2014

    Heather Spurr examines the key themes during a parliamentary evidence session on asylum accommodation

  • Are women-only landlords still necessary?

    19 June 2014

    Eighty years on from the founding of Housing for Women, is gender-specific provision as necessary as it once was? Kate Youde asks its current chief executive

  • Glasgow hardest hit by the bedroom tax

    13 November 2013

    Glasgow has the most people hit by the bedroom tax, according to government figures released today.

  • Let down

    15 October 2013

    Mark Harper’s televised attack on an asylum seeker is just another example of how these often destitute individuals are being treated inhumanely and as political footballs, writes Heather Spurr

  • More than 12,800 homes bought through help to buy

    28 January 2014

    Government figures reveal 12,875 homes were purchased across the UK through the help to buy equity loan scheme.


  • Fighting back


    As the private rented sector continues to grow, so does the number of problematic landlords. Michael Pooler finds out how tenants are taking matters into their own hands to fight for better conditions

  • Back on the front line


    WM Housing chief executive Pat Brandum went back to the shop floor to experience first-hand how her organisation helps vulnerable young people. Alex Turner finds out what she learned

  • Downsizing with the bedroom tax

    17 July 2014

    The price for underoccupying a home is high for many vulnerable people. Jess McCabe visits Stoke-on-Trent to find out how landlords are attempting to help

  • Connect found


    A mobile phone health and well-being ‘app’ is transforming the lives of Bristol residents. Alex Turner reports

  • Mind over matter


    A Merseyside landlord is training its staff to become mental health first aiders to help them support both colleagues and tenants, as Helen Clifton reports

IH Subscription