THE Home Office contractor at the centre of Glasgow’s hotels and housing row has denied that asylum seekers were barred from exiting their accommodation to talk to journalists yesterday.

The Tartan Lodge in the city’s east end describes itself as “Glasgow’s friendly hotel”. Yesterday it was accused of having “closed the doors” on temporary residents as a press conference by the charity Positive Action in Housing (PAIH) began outside.

It was called by director Robina Qureshi to highlight what she says is a “humanitarian crisis” in the city, which has more asylum seekers than any other part of the UK.

READ MORE: 'We don’t feel safe': What life is like in asylum hotels

At the weekend, the Sunday National revealed how Glasgow City Council has agreed a temporary pause on new arrivals until Home Office contractor Mears Group can find “suitable” new homes for the hundreds of people it moved into hotels as the UK entered lockdown. It said that would protect them from coronavirus, but charities warned it would cause hardship and distress. Now PAIH says those at Tartan Lodge are “malnourished” and desperate.

Activist Mohammad Asif, of the Afghan Human Rights Foundation, said it was the “worst” of those being used in Glasgow to house asylum seekers, and residents, who are unable to buy or cook for themselves, complained of uncleaned rooms and poor food.

Nigerian entrepreneur Chisom (pictured), showed the carrot, potato and pea stew he says he was given for dinner on Sunday. Residents say they have to eat out of plastic containers and food is often cold. They also claim rooms have gone uncleaned for weeks and even months, including bedding.

The PAIH warning comes less than a fortnight after Badreddin Abdalla Adam, 28, attacked fellow asylum seekers, hotel staff and PC David Whyte at the Park Inn hotel in the city centre. The Sudanese national was shot dead and inquiries continue. However, it is understood that other hotel residents warned authorities that he had threatened violence the night prior to the June 26 attack.

READ MORE: Glasgow: No new asylum seekers until Home Office acts on housing

Outside Tartan Lodge, one man – a musician from Iran – said a security guard had “put [him] back” when he initially tried to go outside to speak to press, stating: “It reminded me of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Chisom said staff had initially “refused” to let him leave and Sierra Leonean solicitor Mohamed, 30, said they were told “don’t talk to the press”. On his living conditions, he said: “They treat us as if we don’t matter, as if we are just slaves.”

The Tartan Lodge was contacted for comment. Mears said the hotel door is monitored by a security guard and kept locked from the outside for “security and safety reasons”. The company said: “Service users were able to leave the building and it is not correct to say they were prevented from doing so”.

The company said food at the hotels is also eaten by its staff and prepared to NHS Eatwell guidelines. On cleanliness, it said it makes daily inspections and “rooms are thoroughly cleaned and sheets changed on a weekly basis in all hotels”.

It has also confirmed that it has begun moving former Park Inn residents into flats, and insists these are “safe, habitable and fit for purpose” after PAIH revealed pictures of filthy furniture, carpets and kitchens they say show the condition of flats some hotel asylum seekers are being moved to.

Qureshi, who is calling for an inquiry into the use of hotels by Mears, said asylum seekers are being “subjected to an abuse of their most basic human rights”.

The Home Office said of the allegations that “all essential living needs” are met during hotel stays.