Housing group Mears accused of delivering ‘pressure cooker’ asylum seeker accommodation hails profits

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ousing team Mears hailed “strong” 2020 fiscal effects on Thursday amid allegations it has been providing at times bed-bug infested lodging and “pressure cooker” residing problems to asylum seekers. 

Mears is one of 3 private companies contracted by the Dwelling Workplace to take care of asylum accommodation, alongside Serco and Clearsprings Prepared Homes.

The a few providers have been awarded a £4 billion deal to run asylum seeker housing provision until eventually 2029. 

In recent months Mears has confronted allegations from asylum seekers of offering some lodging infested with bed bugs.

It has also confronted promises from a former staff that for the duration of the pandemic the agency, which took around the contract in 2019, rushed to position asylum seekers in accommodation without the need of finishing some required checks. 

Pregnant ladies and girls with youthful toddlers this week informed Scotland’s BBC Alba that they are remaining housed in much too-tiny rooms in a Mears-run housing device in Glasgow. They said they are residing in “pressure cooker” situations, and alleged that the lack of air flow in their rooms indicates that the hearth alarms go off when they are cooking.

The allegations from the Mears Team have not been independently confirmed.

On Thursday the corporation explained in buying and selling update that it expects to deliver a pre-tax income of £4.7 million in the 2nd half, with revenues of £413 million for the interval.

The organization hailed its “strong” cash effectiveness, declaring it delivered “quarter on quarter advancement across 2020”. 

Mears compensated down debts “significantly” in the yr, and the group claimed that it had modified web dollars position of £56.9 million by the December 31 year finish, when compared to a net credit card debt of £51 million at the close of 2019. The corporation built £52.5 million in December from providing off its preparing arm, Terraquest. 

Chief executive, David Miles, said: “Notwithstanding the simple fact that considerably of the electrical power and emphasis in 2020 was expended in reacting to the operational worries introduced by Covid-19, it is satisfying that the Group designed solid development in opposition to all its essential strategic objectives. 

“These were to refocus on housing actions, drastically to lessen indebtedness and to strengthen the returns which we attain on our invested cash. Notwithstanding the headwind of a 3rd national lockdown, I am delighted at how very well the Group has begun the new calendar year.”

Mears shares ended up up 4.2% on Thursday afternoon. 

With regard to allegations around insect infestations, a Mears spokesperson told the Typical: “Mears has taken all correct measures to supply excellent excellent lodging and assist to asylum seekers all through the pandemic.   Arrangements for the duration of the pandemic have been agreed in session with NHS and public health advice as properly as in session with the Home Office.”

The spokesperson stated that the enterprise “has taken all suitable actions to supply superior high-quality accommodation and support to asylum seekers during the pandemic”, and that all its “arrangements throughout the pandemic have been agreed in consultation with NHS and community wellness guidance as properly as in session with the Property Office environment.”

In response to the remarks built to BBC Alba, the Mears spokesperson stated: “The mother and newborn device is a new devoted facility in Glasgow to support moms, babies and vulnerable woman. 

“The purpose is to provide lodging, together with obtain to healthcare and other assist services, that is purpose built to most effective fulfill the requires of moms and infants.   There has been sizeable financial investment in the constructing at Pollokshaws Street and the facility has been refurbished to a substantial normal.  We talked about the constructing in depth with Glasgow Town Council and with COSLA and both equally organisations supported the proposal and approved its use via the established protocols.  

“Mears performs closely with the regional NHS group who are supportive of the services and assistance that is given to people. All rooms have non-public kitchen area facilities, are en-suite and little one baths are delivered.  Room sizes meet up with contractual pointers and Glasgow Metropolis Council suggestions and all rooms are properly ventilated.    

“Regarding fire alarms, we have a prepared fire alarm exam at 11am every Thursday. There was an initial concern with the new cookers allowing off too much smoke as they burned as a result of the coatings on the factors, this has now been absolutely solved.”