Saturday, October 09, 2010

Scumbags out

Birmingham City Council has announced that it when the contract for housing asylum seekers dispersed by the UK Border Agency expires next June, it will not seek to renew it. Fewer than 200 flats in some of the less-popular parts of the council's 65,000 unit housing stock have been used to house these people and you can't help but feel that this has been done for political expediency rather than any burning need to house people - those flats will not make a dent in the 30,000-strong waiting list. This is hardly a surprise, when Cllr Lines signed the new agreement in 2006, he halved the number of flats made available.

Cllr Lines was quoted on Radio 4's PM programme this evening as saying that he no longer 'had the stomach' to house asylum seekers while other Birmingham residents were homeless and living in temporary accommodation. Charmingly, the UKBA were informed of Birmingham's decision when the BBC asked them for a comment.

Cllr 'Slugger' Lines has previous with regards to asylum seekers - he is known to be somewhat to the right of centre - and back in 2008, he gave an interview to Defence Management, where he a was a little too revealing of his own views.
...some scallywag, some scumbag can jump on the back of a lorry, come over under the tunnel and never expect to work a day in his [expletive] life. And if he's been here for a time waiting for a decision, we give him automatic British citizenship. The world's gone [expletive] mad...

He later apologised for the words used - if not the sentiments - and escaped censure.

Cllr Lines had some problems with the terminology when he was interviewed by Richard Lutz for The Stirrer, back in April, demonstrating that he didn't understand what an asylum-seeker actually was and also showing a very rose-tinted view of Margaret Thatcher's council house sell off. He also makes an interesting statement that "the contract with NASS [the UKBA's predecessor] goes back well before he was head of housing," which is slightly misleading, as he signed a renewed contract in 2006, using the opportunity to make political capital by promising a 'no frills' service for those lucky asylum seekers. This is, after all, the man who was blocked from being Lord Mayor because some - including Liberal Democrats - felt that he was too right-wing.

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