Homes for asylum-seekers present new crisis for G4S


Hundreds of asylum-seekers face uncertain futures because the security company G4S is having trouble finding accommodation for them.

The giant company, which is struggling to repair the damage its reputation suffered in the run-up to the Olympics, won a contract in June to house asylum-seekers in the north of England, a job previously carried out by social landlords.

G4S's sub-contractors have until 2 November to find new homes for 1,200 asylum-seekers now being housed by councils in Yorkshire and Humberside. They had been expected to start moving in June, but most are still living in council accommodation.

In Kirklees, just one family out of 260 housed by the council has been moved so far. The council has extended its contract with G4S from September to October as a result of the difficulties. "We understand that the sub-contractors are finding it difficult to procure accommodation and the council has been asked to continue to provide assistance until the end of October," a council spokesman told the magazine Inside Housing.

The problem is believed to have been caused in part by a dispute between G4S and a sub-contractor, United Property Management, over "contractual issues". UPM, which had its own properties, was replaced by two new sub-contractors, which have not yet found enough homes in the Yorkshire area.

Deborah Harris, the chief operating officer at the Refugee Council, said: "We are worried by the delays caused by changing housing providers in the area, which have meant people are not being moved within the expected timeframes."

Ismah Naseem, an advice worker at the charity Northern Refugee Centre, told Inside Housing that she feared the problems could lead to a drop in the standard of accommodation for asylum seekers and their families.

But a G4S spokesman said the company was being "very careful" about the properties it selected, and would manage to rehouse all the asylum-seekers before the deadline passed.

G4S was one of three companies awarded contracts earlier this year by the UK Border Agency. In all, the agency expects the contracts to save £150m. An agency spokesman said: "Where people do need to move, proper consideration will be given to any special requirements to ensure minimum disruption."

The largest employer listed on the London Stock Exchange, with more than 650,000 staff worldwide, G4S hit the headlines early in July when it was forced to admit that it was not going to be able to provide the 10,400 contracted guards for the Olympics. More than 18,000 military personnel had to be brought it to fill the gap.

The fiasco is believed to have caused the company a £50m loss on the £284m contract. Nick Buckles, G4S's £1.2m-a-year chief executive, admitted to MPs that the contract had been a "humiliating shambles".

The UK Border Agency hopes to save £150m by contracting out the housing of asylum-seekers

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'