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Cardinal attacks British asylum policies

The leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland has condemned Britain's treatment of asylum seekers, saying he is "ashamed" that some had been subject to intimidation and bullying by members of the community.

Cardinal Thomas Winning also launched a scathing attack on the government's voucher system for food and clothing and the ban on asylum seekers gaining employment.

His comments have come amid growing concern over the asylum seeker issue in Glasgow.

Cardinal Winning told The Herald newspaper: "The church condemns not only the intimidation but also the institutionalised discrimination suffered by asylum seekers."

He then went on to condemn the restrictions which prevent refugees and asylum seekers - some of whom were highly skilled - from working.

He said: "Such sanctions are an affront to the human dignity of the individuals concerned and an incoming government should review them as soon as possible.

He added: "I would ask all involved in public life to be especially careful not to play on the fears of host communities.

"Politicians have a special responsibility to give a lead in offering reassurance and support to all involved in the hosting of asylum seekers in our city. They should reject the temptation to outdo each other in recommending even more draconian methods to deal with some of the most hurt and vulnerable people in our country."