G4S and Serco executives are having to account for their abuse of asylum seekers (and the tax payer) for their disastrous provision of asylum housing as part of the COMPASS contract. They were summoned to appear before the House of Commons Select Committee on June 25th to “discuss their provision of the COMPASS contract, following criticisms made in both written and oral evidence to this inquiry.” The televised proceedings can be watched again here.
Appearing for G4S is Stephen Small, Managing Director, Immigration & Borders. This is not the first time that Mr Small has been brought before a parliamentary committee about asylum. Weeks after Jimmy Mubenga died while being “escorted” by G4S guards during a forced deportation in October 2010, Mr Small was grilled about his responsibility. On that occasion Mr Small wriggled out of taking any responsibility for Jimmy Mubenga’s death, though a full inquest into G4S’ (and Small’s) responsibility is now underway
We are pleased that the efforts of asylum tenants, charities and campaigners, particularly in Yorkshire, have built up enough momentum to cause G4S (and Serco) to be forced to account for their abuse of asylum tenants in the “asylum markets” (as Mr Small explained to SYMAAG). SYMAAG contributed a detailed dossier of evidence to the enquiry.
We congratulate those MPs, like Jeremy Corbyn, who have taken a principled stand against G4S’ abuse for profit and applaud those charities who have called for this enquiry. And, most of all, we respect the efforts of asylum tenants who have spoken out despite real fears of victimisation from G4S and UKBA. We believe that whatever the result of the parliamentary enquiry into asylum housing G4S (and Serco and Clearel) should be taken off the COMPASS contract and forced to pay back the money they have taken from local authorities and tax payers.
Our campaign against G4S running asylum housing began in February 2011 when a local man, seeking asylum from Zimbabwe explained “I don’t want a prison guard as my landlord”. He hasn’t changed his mind.