Glasgow rejects UK request to host asylum barge on River Clyde

Susan Aitken said Glasgow is a 'proud beacon' of support for asylum seekers - and the barge is the 'polar opposite of that'.

Glasgow City Council rejects UK Government request to host Bibby Stockholm-style asylum barge on River Clyde Getty Images

The leader of Glasgow council has rejected a request by the UK Government to dock an asylum barge in the city.

Susan Aitken said the local authority would not give permission for a Bibby Stockholm-style vessel to move onto the River Clyde.

The first asylum seekers started boarding the barge in Portland, Dorset on Monday following a series of delays.

It will house up to 500 men aged between 18 and 65, the UK Government said, with its capacity being increased by installing bunk beds in the cabins.

Glasgow council leader Susan Aitken said she will not grant permission for an asylum barge to dock in the city.Getty Images

Aitken said the Home Office had asked Glasgow City Council for permission to host a barge but was refused.

The SNP councillor said: “The UK Government wants Glasgow City Council to give consent to an asylum barge being sited in the city.

“We will not give it.

“Glasgow’s communities are proud to be beacons of support and integration for asylum seekers and refugees.

“This is the polar opposite of that.”

The post was retweeted by First Minister Humza Yousaf.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “The council was made aware that agents working on behalf of the Home Office were exploring a potential site for a barge within Glasgow.

“The council has made it clear to the Home Office that it does not support such a move.”

The Home Office has reportedly struggled to find places to berth asylum barges.

Edinburgh council previously opposed plans for a former cruise ship to be used to house asylum seekers in the city.

Cammy Day, the Labour councillor who leads the local authority, said the proposals would create a “floating prison” in Leith.

The UK Government said people on the Bibby Stockholm will be allowed to come and go from the site but will be asked to sign in and out.

The barge comes in response to the rising number of people crossing the English Channel.Getty Images

The policy has raised concern among opposition parties and charities about the welfare of asylum seekers on the barge.

UK ministers hope the use of the barge and former military bases to house asylum seekers will reduce the cost of hotel bills – around £6m a day.

More than 15,000 migrants have arrived in the UK so far this year after crossing the Channel.

Some 339 people made the journey on Friday and Saturday after an eight-day hiatus amid poor weather conditions at sea, taking the provisional total for 2023 to date to 15,071.

The Home Office has been approached for comment.

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