A SCOTTISH independence referendum is amongst the biggest risks facing the company at the centre of the Park Inn attack, according to its latest annual report.

The indyref2 issue has been actively considered by Home Office contractor Mears Group in its latest annual report. But the operator dismissed that and all other “emerging risks” to its business.

It is not known why this was included in the list, but the Scottish Government and the country’s largest party, the SNP, have both repeatedly emphasised their opposition to the UK Government’s “hostile environment” and asylum policies, as have Scottish Labour, the Greens and the LibDems.

Mears Group made the controversial decision to place asylum seekers in the Glasgow hotel and several others as the pandemic worsened, claiming this would make them safer.

The full details of the Friday incident and any connection to housing issues is not yet known while the police investigation continues.

However, the move of hundreds of people took place without any vulnerability assessments and one man, Syrian Adnan Elbi, had died in another hostelry before Sudanese national Badreddin Abadlla Adam, 28, attacked several people at the Radisson-owned Park Inn on Friday.

The incident took place around one month after Mears Group, which has a ten-year contract for the provision of asylum seeker accommodation in Scotland, released its latest annual report. In this, the company told how winning that deal had helped push its revenues up 13% year-on-year to £982.6 million. And it said it was “on track” to meet an order book target of £2.1 billion, despite the pandemic.

The same document tells how the company board has “considered the following areas and their risk to the company”. These include the impact of climate change and other extreme weather events, political risk from “a change in attitude to out-sourcing”, cyber risk and “an independence referendum for Scotland”.

It goes on: “The board have considered the medium and longer term and concluded that the board couldn’t at this stage see any emerging risks, including those above, that would have a material effect on the performance of the group.”

Mears was awarded the Asylum Accommodation and Support Services Contract for Scotland in January last year, with previous holder Serco losing out amidst a fury row over lock change evictions which would leave those affected destitute. Mears says it will not enact that policy for anyone deemed to have exhausted their asylum claim process, but will pursue evictions through the courts instead, something the contractor stresses it does not have to do.

It also holds the contracts for asylum accommodation in parts of England and the January 2019 awards sent its share price soaring by 6.2% to £3.60. Yesterday that figure stood at around £1.55.

Prior to losing the deal, Serco – led by Rupert Soames, brother of then-Tory MP Nicholas Soames – also faced sustained and angry criticism over the quality of properties provided to asylum seekers in Glasgow through subcontractor Orchard & Shipman from 2011-2016, an issue that prompted an inquiry by MPs. Tenants revealed how the properties they were placed in were infested with pests and had broken door locks.