ASYLUM seekers who have been moved from self-contained accommodation into hotels in  Glasgow – including one where a refugee was found dead last month – are refusing to eat food they have been given at them.

As the country went into lockdown, scores of refugees were transferred from their initial housing to McLays Guest House and a central branch of the Mercure by Home Office contractor Mears. More than 20 have been refusing to eat hotel food since the beginning of this week.

One of them at McLays, talking to The National on condition of anonymity, said: “The food is bad because of the way they cook it – there are a lot of us who are not eating it. Others only eat it because they have to, the Iranians need something to eat. We asked if we could change the food but nothing has happened, it’s the same as the first day we arrived here. I have been here for two months and the only thing I can eat here is chips.”

Mears Group has moved around 500 asylum seekers into city hotels, claiming that it was a necessary measure because of problems securing lets during the lockdown.

In circumstances such as these, their food is provided and they lose their £5.30 daily, which means they often cannot top up their phones to contact lawyers and family, or buy fresh fruit or sanitary products.

One friend said Adnan Olbeh, who died last month, had felt “under more pressure” after moving to McLays and losing all financial support. He said: “I wonder if there was any small thing I could have done to save him.”

READ MORE: Fury after Syrian asylum seeker found dead in Scottish hotel

Ako Zada, a refugee community activist, told The National: “They are not on hunger strike but they are refusing to eat the food they’re being given because of the way it is cooked.

“They have been in these hotels for almost three months and it is very repetitive as the food is the same almost every day.

“Some of them had asked if they could have their meat cooked slightly differently, but nothing has happened.

“I’m meeting them all again tomorrow to see if we can sort things out.”

The charity Positive Action in Housing (PAIH), has been critical of UK Government policy on asylum seekers, and its director Robina Qureshi has described their treatment during the pandemic as “beyond comprehension”.

She told The National last night: “I would not be surprised if people were refusing to eat the food they are being given – the same thing day in, day out.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Mears Group said: “There have been no hunger strikes taking place at any hotels in Glasgow where Mears are housing asylum seekers.

“Earlier this week a small number of residents had a specific complaint about the food options being served.

“Mears and kitchen staff listened to residents about how they could improve some recipes so that their food is more like how it would be cooked in the asylum seekers’ country of origin. Mears were more than happy to agree to this and not a single service user has told Mears staff that they will be going on hunger strike for any reason.”