ousing group Mears hailed “robust” 2020 monetary outcomes on Thursday amid allegations it has been offering typically bed-bug infested lodging and “stress cooker” dwelling situations to asylum seekers.
Mears is certainly one of three personal firms contracted by the House Workplace to handle asylum lodging, alongside Serco and Clearsprings Prepared Properties.
The three firms have been awarded a £4 billion contract to run asylum seeker housing provision till 2029.
In current weeks Mears has confronted allegations from asylum seekers of offering some lodging infested with mattress bugs.
It has additionally confronted claims from a former worker that throughout the pandemic the agency, which took over the contract in 2019, rushed to put asylum seekers in lodging with out finishing some obligatory checks.
Pregnant girls and girls with younger infants this week informed Scotland’s BBC Alba that they’re being housed in too-small rooms in a Mears-run housing unit in Glasgow. They mentioned they’re dwelling in “stress cooker” situations, and alleged that the shortage of air flow of their rooms signifies that the hearth alarms go off when they’re cooking.
The allegations in opposition to the Mears Group haven’t been independently verified.
On Thursday the corporate mentioned in buying and selling replace that it expects to ship a pre-tax revenue of £4.7 million within the second half, with revenues of £413 million for the interval.
The corporate hailed its “robust” money efficiency, saying it delivered “quarter on quarter enchancment throughout 2020”.
Mears paid down money owed “considerably” within the yr, and the group mentioned that it had adjusted internet money place of £56.9 million by the December 31 yr finish, in comparison with a internet debt of £51 million on the finish of 2019. The corporate made £52.5 million in December from promoting off its planning arm, Terraquest.
Chief government, David Miles, mentioned: “However the truth that a lot of the power and focus in 2020 was expended in reacting to the operational challenges introduced by Covid-19, it’s pleasing that the Group made robust progress in opposition to all its key strategic targets.
“These had been to refocus on housing actions, considerably to scale back indebtedness and to enhance the returns which we get hold of on our invested capital. However the headwind of a 3rd nationwide lockdown, I’m delighted at how effectively the Group has began the brand new yr.”
Group shares had been up 4.2% on Thursday afternoon.
With regard to allegations over insect infestations, a Mears spokesperson informed the Normal: “Mears has taken all acceptable steps to offer good high quality lodging and assist to asylum seekers throughout the pandemic. Preparations throughout the pandemic have been agreed in session with NHS and public well being recommendation in addition to in session with the House Workplace.”
The spokesperson mentioned that the corporate “has taken all acceptable steps to offer good high quality lodging and assist to asylum seekers throughout the pandemic”, and that all its “preparations throughout the pandemic have been agreed in session with NHS and public well being recommendation in addition to in session with the House Workplace.”
In response to the feedback made to BBC Alba, the Mears spokesperson mentioned: “The mom and child unit is a brand new devoted facility in Glasgow to assist moms, infants and weak girl.
“The goal is to offer lodging, together with entry to healthcare and different assist providers, that’s goal designed to greatest meet the wants of moms and infants. There was appreciable funding within the constructing at Pollokshaws Street and the power has been refurbished to a excessive customary. We mentioned the constructing in depth with Glasgow Metropolis Council and with COSLA and each organisations supported the proposal and authorised its use by way of the established protocols.
“Mears works carefully with the native NHS crew who’re supportive of the service and assist that’s given to residents. All rooms have personal kitchen amenities, are en-suite and child baths are supplied. Room sizes meet contractual pointers and Glasgow Metropolis Council pointers and all rooms are effectively ventilated.
“Relating to hearth alarms, we’ve got a deliberate hearth alarm take a look at at 11am every Thursday. There was an preliminary difficulty with the brand new cookers letting off extreme smoke as they burned by way of the coatings on the weather, this has now been totally resolved.”