THE asylum system in the UK is not fit for purpose. It has been run down and neglected by successive Home Secretaries, particularly Suella Braverman. 

At present, more than 160,000 people from countries like Sudan, Afghanistan and Iran are stuck in limbo, desperate for a decision about their right to remain in the UK.

Meanwhile, organised far-right gangs whip up tension among communities.

READ MORE: 'Disrespect': British army veteran trapped in UK asylum system speaks out

The use of hotel rooms and other forms of institutional accommodation separates and isolates people.

It is very difficult to integrate into a local community when you don’t have a real home there, are living in extreme poverty and cannot work to support yourself or your family.

People in this type of housing have to exist on £1.30 a day, not enough for a bus ticket. And they do not have access to any benefits such as Universal Credit or child payments.

Meanwhile the companies responsible for accommodation – Mears, Serco and Clearsprings – receive at least £2.5 billion a year from the Government.

None of this money goes to local communities, who would benefit from the extra investment.

The recent surge in far-right anti-migrant rhetoric and action is taking us to a dangerous place.

The National: Far-right protesters demonstrate against asylum seekers at ErskineFar-right protesters demonstrate against asylum seekers at Erskine

And it is heartbreaking to think that people who have come to the UK fleeing violence and oppression are now experiencing further terror and discrimination in the place they came for sanctuary.

We believe all this could have been avoided.

A fair, efficient and humane asylum system would allow people to move on from temporary accommodation, find work and become a part of their communities, flee traumatic situations and enable them to build a life here and thrive.

But that would require investment and, more importantly, the political will to make the UK’s asylum system work.

Instead, it has been allowed to decline and asylum decision-making to grind to a halt.

And things are getting worse.

The Government’s proposed Illegal Migration Bill will abolish the right to seek asylum in the UK and slam the door to safety in the faces of trafficking survivors.

It will add massively to the current asylum backlog with a new population permanently inadmissible to asylum.

It will render thousands of people seeking sanctuary in permanent detention and institutional accommodation, re-traumatising them.

It will be a boon to destitution and organised crime exploitation of vulnerable migrants.

It is horrific. In Scotland, we can’t stand by and watch this happen.