Politicians yesterday demanded an urgent meeting with government ministers to discuss how asylum seekers are housed in Scotland.
MP Chris Stephens called for talks as criticism mounted over the £1 billion contract.
In January last year, it was announced that Mears Group had won the contract to provide asylum-seeker accommodation and support in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England for the next 10 years.
Mr Stephens, SNP MP for Glasgow South West, has criticised a decision by the company to move asylum seekers from one and two-bedroom flats to budget hotels at the beginning of lockdown in March.
A 30-year-old Syrian man who had told friends he was suicidal was found dead in his room at McLay’s Guest House in the city centre on May 5. He had been moved there by Mears.
Mr Stephens said asylum seekers had a small allowance of £5.39 a day stopped by the government and some hotel residents had gone on hunger strike in protest about the food. He said: “Asylum seekers were bundled into vans with no social distancing and transported to these hotels.
“In some of these hotels, the food provided has been mouldy and unfit for consumption, and in some it is culturally inappropriate, to the extent that around 20 asylum seekers are currently on hunger strike.
“Asylum seekers have contacted my office to say that, due to the food provided, they have been unwell. That is not acceptable. It is so bad that charities have had no other choice than to step in and provide food.”
Mr Stephens has written to Immigration Minister Chris Philp to ask him to meet all of Glasgow’s MPs and the leader of Glasgow City Council. He said: “We are concerned about asylum accommodation over the last three months. It’s important we can discuss with the minister the way the contract with Mears has been handled.”
A Mears Group spokesman said asylum seekers were moved to hotels for their own protection during the coronavirus pandemic. He added: “Mears Group is deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic events in the heart of Glasgow today. We will not anticipate a live police investigation, but we can confirm that the attack happened in a hotel where we are housing asylum seekers during the lockdown period.”