Plans by private contractor Serco to return to its policy to evict hundreds of failed asylum seekers in Glasgow has met with anger.

The firm, which has the contract to house asylum seekers until September, said it has been housing 300 people for free and must evict them before handing over properties to their owners later this year.

The firm said that it has been costing £1million a year to house those whose claims have been rejected, and the number has been increasing and it is no longer sustainable to do so.

A spokesman said: “This is not a step we have taken lightly; we have explored many alternative solutions over the past twelve months, and we have been working with Glasgow City Council (GCC), the Home Office and the third sector to explore different ways forward. “Ultimately, for many of the people concerned, the best solution may be the Assisted Voluntary Return Scheme under which the Home Office supports people who have lost their right to remain in the UK and need help to return to their home country.

“To help what is likely to be an increased burden on voluntary organisations, Serco will be making up to £150,000 available to charities supporting the homeless in the Glasgow area. When people leave their properties, we will point them towards alternative sources of support.”

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken has written to the UK Government asking for it to intervene to stop the lock changes.

She said: “This is a deeply concerning development” and asked It “prevents these planned evictions taking place and, secondly, to prevent future repetition of this situation”.

Others said it will inevitably lead to homelessness.

A spokesman for the Scottish Refugee council said: “We are outraged at Serco’s plan to initiate lock change evictions in the coming weeks and months. For hundreds of men and women in Glasgow this will mean forced eviction from their only source of accommodation and safety in Scotland.

“The consequences of these evictions are clear: extreme human suffering on a mass scale with all the immediate adverse health and exploitation risks that ensue.”

Govan Law Centre is currently appealing the ruling which said it was lawful for Serco to change locks for those in the flats.

It said that evictions should not go ahead while there is a court challenge.

Mike Dailly, solicitor advocate, said: “It is extraordinarily unjust that Serco will carry out 300 lock-change evictions relying upon a court judgment that is subject to live legal proceedings before Scotland’s supreme appellate court.

“Our client has obtained the Opinion of Queen’s Counsel, who has identified a number of different and substantial grounds of appeal with “good prospects” and “a strong probability of success” in line with Scots, UK and European jurisprudence.”