GLASGOW City Council has been locked out of bidding for the contract to house asylum seekers in the city, the council leader has claimed.

The council wanted to take on the housing of asylum seekers after years of complaints about sub-standard accommodation but found the tender process ‘rigged’ in favour of the private sector.

Council leader Susan Aitken said the Home Office set conditions that couldn’t be met.

She said: “When council officers did express an interest in the contract, they received an immediate demand for detailed proposals.

“This is contrary to the published tender procedure, which makes it look increasingly like the whole tender process is being stacked against local authorities.”

She said that there were conditions attached to any bid the council couldn’t possible meet.

The council leader added: “For example, since 2012 not a single UK council has held a contract for asylum seeker accommodation. But the Home Office is asking bidders to demonstrate their experience in delivering similar contracts in the past five years.

“The only organisations that can give a positive response to this question are the holders of the current contracts, all of whom are private companies.”

The new contract will begin in 2019 and last for 10 years but after the council decided it couldn’t bid, it will once again be in the private sector.

Ms Aitken added: “The Home Office seems determined to forge ahead with new 10-year contracts that repeat the mistakes of the past five years.

“The programme for supporting Syrian refugees has shown what is possible when housing those seeking refuge. Sadly, the Home Office doesn’t seem interested in applying the lessons from this contract to the dispersal programme.”

Asylum seekers have been housed in conditions described by politicians and campaigners as horrific, humiliating and degrading.

Glasgow MSP Patrick Harvie called for the contracts to be in the public sector. He said previously: “The UK Government wants a cut-price and inadequate service because it wants a system that humiliates and degrades people.”

A Home Office spokeswoman, said: “The provision of accommodation for asylum seekers in the UK is delivered by a number of commercial providers.

“Following publication of the contract notice we are not in a position to discuss detail as we are bound by procurement regulations.”

A spokesman for Serco said: "We are confident that the accommodation we provide for asylum seekers in Glasgow is safe and decent and meets all the standards required under the COMPASS contract."