[noborders-brum] Angel Group: far from Angelic

phunkee at aktivix.org phunkee at aktivix.org
Fri Apr 21 15:58:50 UTC 2006

Just found this deep in the bowels of google's cache which gives some insight
into the Asylum Profiteers, The Angel Group, who are the main sponsors of
Birmingham's Refugee Week event, 'Celebrating Sanctuary'.


Angel Group: far from Angelic

The UK government’s decision in 1999 to “disperse” asylum seekers around the
country was a big business opportunity for the Angel Group. Along with a
handful of other private companies, the Angel Group was contracted by the Home
Office’s National Asylum Support Service (NASS) to provide housing for asylum
seekers. This is what the Angel Group specialize in: they claim to provide
“high quality accommodation and support services to vulnerable people”. By the
end of 2003 it was a multi-million pound property industry with a director,
Julia Davey, who is the 17th richest businesswoman in the UK.

However, internal company records, statements by former employees and the
testimony of asylum seekers housed by Angel Group reveal that the company’s
success is built on some dubious methods. Before the Angel Group was contracted
by NASS it had already established its credentials as a ruthless profiteering
organization. In April 2003 Ms Daley bought an old nurses’ home in Newcastle
and called it Angel Heights. Its first occupants were Iraqi and Iranian asylum
seekers who soon rioted over poor conditions. In its first 2 years Angel
Heights generated a profit of £700,000 and Ms Daley awarded herself a dividend
of £300,000.

With a five-year contract from NASS that amounted to £20m a year, the Angel
Group started acquiring and renting properties across Yorkshire and the
north-east. It was handling up to 800 properties at a time, all of which were
paid for by NASS whether they were occupied or not. In the event, according to
former employees, between 30% and 50% were not used.

At its busiest, the Angel Group was providing more than 3,600 bed spaces to
NASS. The fee paid for each bed space was £102 a week. Angel Group properties
in Sheffield, particularly Burngreave and Firth Park have been overcrowded,
sometimes with 2 adults sharing a room with only a curtain separating them. An
investigation by the Leeds Today newspaper uncovered “squalid conditions” and
sometimes no gas or electricity in houses let by the Angel Group. A report by
the National Audit Office in 2004 of asylum seeker housing provided by private
companies (including the Angel Group) showed that 33% of 4,535 properties
inspected had "significant" defects and 7% needed immediate action.

The Angel Group in Sheffield hit new depths in July 2004. An Iraqi Kurdish
resident of one of its properties in Burngreave, Naseh Ghafor went on hunger
strike to protest that his forced deportation to Iraq would lead to his death
there. He was in the fourth week of his hunger strike when Angel Group
representatives announced that they wanted him out of the house. His few
clothes and vital official papers of his were taken without his knowledge by
Angel Group employees in an attempt to force him out. At this stage Naseh could
barely move his head, least of all move house.

The Angel Group is currently the subject of a Home Office investigation which
began in August 2005. It has a Sheffield office under the name of “Angel Home
Loans” at 57 Owler Lane, Firth Park. You can call its manager, Mr Bruce Cable
on 261 7777. For some reason Mr Cable rarely leaves his office without a

by Sheffield No Borders 30.09.05 with thanks to Owen Bowcott and David Palliser
of The Guardian newspaper 

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