IN GLASGOW the commemoration of the second anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire was organised by Living Rent with a demonstration on the steps at the top of Buchanan Street on the evening of Friday 14th June.
Around a hundred people gathered to show the pictures of all 72 people who died in the fire and to point out that the danger to tenants in dangerous housing continues throughout the country. The initial demonstration was followed by a mass stroll to Central Station and another demonstration in the station itself.
Fortunately the police maintained the current policy of the past 20 years or so in Scotland of avoiding confrontation and arrests during the vast majority of demonstrations and the event was allowed to complete and disperse peacefully.
Living Rent as the major activist tenants’ group in Scotland is now preparing for what is likely to be an escalation in the battle over the eviction of asylum seekers in Glasgow by Home Office contractor Serco. Two developments have brought the situation to a head.
The case against Serco at the Court of Session (Scotland's highest court) on behalf of a group of asylum seekers was won by Serco. At the same time Serco declined to bid to continue its contract to house asylum seekers and the contract is due to transfer to Mears, a division of Centrica (which owns British Gas), in September. Serco now wants to complete the eviction of around 300 asylum seekers by changing the locks as soon as possible.
The company is not being paid by the Home Office for the accommodation and there is a rumour that Serco is so keen to remove itself that it wants to hand over the contract early. Living Rent is preparing resistance to probable evictions across the city while demanding that the politicians, particularly the SNP controlled Glasgow City council, take action to house those in danger of being made destitute and homeless.
Glasgow Cathcart CLP