GOVERNMENT contractors condemn families of asylum seekers to rat-infested homes in today’s UK, MPs have found.

The Home Affairs Committee heard of children placed in housing infested with mice, rats and bedbugs.

One woman said her kitchen was “full of mice” which ran across the dinner table while they were eating. Another torture victim said the rodents triggered flashbacks to his detention in the cell where he was abused.

Charities warned the conditions led to health problems for some and one woman told how she was placed into a house with just a bed mattress and a frame, despite guidelines requiring the providers to ensure they are furnished and habitable.

Since 2012 accommodation has been provided to asylum seekers via six regional contracts which are delivered by contractors Serco, G4S and Clearsprings Ready Homes.

The report said the poor standard of asylum accommodation was the most significant issue identified in the evidence it received, which focused largely on contracts administered by G4S and Serco.

Committee chairman Yvette Cooper MP said: “The state of accommodation for some asylum seekers and refugees in this country is a disgrace.

“We have come across too many examples of vulnerable people in unsafe accommodation, for example children living with infestations of mice, rats or bed bugs, lack of healthcare for pregnant women, or inadequate support for victims of rape and torture. No-one should be living in conditions like that.”

The report said contractors are housing more people than they were funded for because of the contract design, growing delays in Home Office asylum processing and higher applications. It also warned inspection and complaints regimes are inadequate and said accommodation funding is much lower than for the government’s separate Syrian refugee scheme.

A Home Office spokesman said: “The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection and we are committed to providing safe and secure accommodation while applications are considered.

“We work closely with our contractors to ensure they provide accommodation that is safe, habitable, fit for purpose and adequately equipped and we conduct regular inspections to check that this is the case.

“We have also made significant improvements to the operation of the contracts, including increasing the number of dispersal areas by more than a third.”

However, committee member Stuart McDonald MP, who represents Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East, said: “During the inquiry it sometimes seemed that providers and Home Office officials had their heads in the sand, insisting that all was well when the overwhelming evidence we received was the contract was seeing too many cases of completely unacceptable accommodation, and utterly inappropriate placements of vulnerable asylum seekers.

“There are many recommendations that the Government must look to implement now, including improvements to complaints systems and empowering local authorities with greater control and resources. But it must also start planning now for a fundamental reshaping of the whole system for when the current disastrous contracts run their course in 2019.

“That should see local authorities given the resources and powers to carry out their duties properly and a new role for the Scottish Government so that some cohesion and planning can be brought to the process.”

Meanwhile, statistics released by the Refugee Survival Trust (RST), which provides grants to destitute asylum seekers and refugees in Scotland, revealed a shocking rise in the number of children cut off by the state.

More than 307 youngsters were given help through 125 applications over the nine months from April to December last year, with 43 of the youngsters homeless at the time.

The total is more than the 223 children helped throughout the entirety of the previous year.

Co-ordinator Zoe Holliday said: “It is unacceptable that any child, regardless of their country of origin or immigration status, should be destitute or homeless in Scotland.

“RST destitution grants provide short-term finance to refugees and immigrants who have nowhere else to turn for support.”