COMMUNITIES Secretary Aileen Campbell has raised “grave concerns” after it emerged that asylum seekers in Glasgow may be kept in hotels until the end of the year.

The Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council have both urged the Home Office and its contractor Mears to act after the news came to light.

That’s despite widespread concern about the impact of what has been called “hotel detention” by some campaigners and the Park Inn stabbing carried out by one of the near-400 people moved into hotels by Mears at the outbreak of lockdown.

Badreddin Abadlla Adam was shot dead by police at the city centre hostelry after stabbing six people there. An inquiry continues but it is understood that the Sudanese man had hit out at conditions there relating to privacy and food, and that other residents had raised fears about his mental health on the eve of the unprecedented attack.

It came after Syrian torture survivor Adnan Elbi died at another hotel used by Mears. Those circumstances were not suspicious but friends said Elbi had repeatedly tried to access mental health support.

In the wake of the Park Inn attack, Mears said it was working to find suitable accommodation for all individuals. Some of these moves have already taken place, but activists including Positive Action in Housing have released images of filthy accommodation it says people have been left in without cleaning equipment or proper furniture – claims disputed by Mears. Yesterday BBC Scotland reported that it had seen an email from the company which stated that “based on the demand and lack of procurement” it will still be using hotels “by the end of this year”.

READ MORE: Claim asylum seekers face 'climate of fear' after Glasgow attack

Mears, which moved people out of rented flats into the shared accommodation in a pandemic control measure – said it will “do all in its power to end the use of hotels and ensure everyone has a home of their own”.

Unesco chair Professor Alison Phipps, of Glasgow University, told The National the Mears position “is clearly contravening the spirit and letter” of the Scottish Government’s New Scots Refugee Integration policy, which is “based on the human right to housing”.

She went on: “Nothing about living in hotels fits with the work of integrating and living as normalised a life as possible. That rented accommodation was in place before the hasty move into hotel detention but now is not, simply highlights the dreadful procurement processes in place.”

Campbell said: “I have repeatedly raised with the Home Office our grave concerns about accommodation and support available for asylum seekers in Glasgow, both before and during this pandemic and I am yet to receive a satisfactory response or a change in policy.

“People who have come to Scotland because they needed a place of safety should be supported, particularly at this time of crisis, and not bear the brunt of the UK’s failed asylum policies.”

Fears over housing provision by Mears are so great that Glasgow City Council has agreed a pause on new arrivals with the Home Office. Those who arrive in the city – known as a haven – on their own will be moved to England until the situation is revolved, but campaigners fear this in itself will cause harm, possibly pushing some underground.

The council said: “We are working with Mears and the Home Office to expedite people’s move to suitable accommodation and would urge them to focus all their energy on accelerating that process. No asylum seekers are being dispersed to Glasgow temporarily, to ease pressures on accommodation in the city and assist Mears to find suitable accommodation for those who are currently in hotels.”

Mears says mental health help is available in the hotels from NHS staff and welfare officers. It stated: “We recognise that being in a hotel for a long period is difficult for service users and we have prioritised moves to dispersed accommodation for people who have been in hotels for longest, or where there are specific health or welfare concerns.”

The Home Office says it is “working with local authorities to secure the suitable longer-term accommodation needed”.