What would you pay £316 a week for? A swanky flat in an upmarket urban avenue? A plush stone-built villa in a leafy suburb?

Or a sad single room in a grotty hotel, with no cooker and no fridge, where you're not allowed to talk to anyone for fear of drug-dealing or you're locked out if you're back five minutes late at night?

That's the scandal of temporary accommodation and its extortionate costs exposed by The Herald on Sunday.

All over the country, people are being put up in smelly, rundown private hotels and B&Bs due to a lack of social housing stock. And in Glasgow the taxpayer has to pay £316 a week – that's £1370 a calendar month – for the privilege.

Solicitors, charities and politicians have today called for the government to open its eyes to the scandal affecting the country’s homeless population and have accused those in power of squandering taxpayers' cash while keeping the most vulnerable in poverty.

The director of Scotland’s largest housing charity, Shelter, said the situation was due to “decades of underinvestment” in social housing.

The Herald on Sunday visited six sites – a mixture of private hotels and B&Bs – used for temporary accommodation this week in Glasgow, which cost £316 a week in rent.

Residents are provided with a room, a bed, a kettle and a wardrobe. In some cases they have their own bathrooms, while in others they have to share a communal one in the corridor. In one B&B, residents were forbidden from talking to each other or going to each other’s rooms, while in another the doors were locked at midnight and anyone not back by then would be out for the night.

Cooking facilities were rare, and in most cases residents lived on non-perishables such as instant noodles, biscuits and junk food.

For the money costs to be accommodate in these places – £1370 a month – an "impressive drawing room conversion" is advertised for rent in the heart of Glasgow's west end.

The flat in an "elegant sandstone townhouse" comes with a modern kitchen, mezzanine, "stylish" two-piece bathroom and separate toilet, and is "exceptionally well-placed for local amenities and excellent transport links".

And for less than that, £1200 a month, a two-bedroom semi-detached mews is available for rent, including council tax bills.

The "elegant" property is also in the west end of Glasgow, and boasts two large bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom and access to a garden.

In Bearsden, a three-bedroom refurbished villa is on the market for just £1025 a month.

The cost of the city’s temporary homeless accommodation is due to rise next month to £327 a week – taking the monthly cost to more than £1400.

On top of the staggering prices, solicitors at Govan Law Centre, which works with homeless people to help them get accommodation, say the temporary rooms are being used for months and sometimes years to house those with nowhere else to go.

This, they say, is only adding to or creating more problems in terms of mental health issues, addiction, isolation and unemployment.

Lorna Walker, a partner at Govan Law Centre, said: “This isn't the best use of taxpayers' money, when they could be putting it in to accommodation that is of a decent standard and putting it in to helping people get their lives back on track the way they want it.

"It is not a good way for taxpayers’ money to be spent at all and the authorities need to open their eyes and see that.

“The law in Scotland on this issue is some of the best – it is very clearly written, and it is clear how it should be applied. Unfortunately, it isn’t working in that way.

Ms Walker added that many of her clients are keen to get back to work, but as they are unable to afford to pay the extortionate £1370-per-month rent and try to save for a deposit for their own homes, they are stuck in a “vicious cycle”.

She said: “Unless you are on a great wage, it’s a lot of money to pay. It’s more than most people’s mortgages.

“People may be stuck there for months and sometimes years, and it’s a vicious cycle – they lose skills, they become isolated, they don't make relationships.

“We have clients who have been in these places for years, or people who may have been in one then moved to another and another, there's no support to get them into a flat.”

Figures obtained by The Ferret last year and shared with The Herald on Sunday reveal that Glasgow spent £12,646,529 on private hotels and B&B accommodation for homeless people between 2011 and 2017. In total, in that period the city paid more than £42m to private providers for temporary accommodation.

Scottish local authorities as a whole have paid more than £1.2bn on temporary housing, which also includes temporary flats, between 2011 and 2017. Most of the costs, they say, are met by housing benefit which is paid for by taxpayers via the UK Government.

Graeme Brown, director at Shelter Scotland, said temporary accommodation such as hotels and B&Bs are an “essential part of our housing safety net” but said people are getting trapped there.

He explained: “While the cost can be high, it is what we must pay to ensure people have somewhere to live when they are homeless.

“Due to an acute shortage of social housing, people across Scotland are now spending longer in temporary accommodation, stuck in limbo, unable to settle and get on with their lives while the uncertainty of where and when they will be moving looms over them.

“These are the consequences of decades of underinvestment in social housing.”

Annie Wells, Scottish Conservative MSP for Glasgow said: “These revelations expose an extremely poor standard of living for those housed in these places. It’s simply not good enough, either for the vulnerable people living there or the taxpayer.

“How can we expect homeless people to get their lives back on track when they’re being left in such unacceptable conditions?”

Labour housing spokeswoman Pauline McNeill said: "This is simply scandalous but it won't be fixed until we end Scotland's housing crisis.

"The government need to be much better at preventative work and stopping people getting to this point in the first place.

"That means properly resourcing public services, looking at how we can make the private rented sector more affordable and preventing evictions, as well as building more homes for social rent.

"Current legislation on breaching suitable accommodation must be properly enforced and responded to – that simply is not happening now."

Glasgow City Council said: “This is a national issue, and it should be noted that the charges for this type of accommodation go to support the whole homelessness system and the charges levied reflect the overall costs of the service.

"The charges are invariably met from Housing Benefit, which is paid for by the UK Government.

“B&B accommodation is only used as a last resort, and the vast majority of people supported through the homelessness system are accommodated in temporary furnished flats.

“We are implementing the Housing First programme which will see people given permanent accommodation with appropriate support at the first time of asking.”

The Scottish Government's housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “While temporary accommodation provides an important safety net in emergency situations, we must ensure that accommodation is of a high quality, and stays are as short as possible.

“Our Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan sets out a range of measures that support our ambition to transform temporary accommodation. These include moving to a rapid rehousing and Housing First approach, supported by £23.5 million, and in order to lower rents, developing a new funding framework for temporary accommodation. Getting this right with our council partners will mean fewer people need to spend less time in temporary accommodation and more will be provided with permanent settled accommodation that meets their needs.

“We are also developing a consultation on temporary accommodation standards and extending the Unsuitable Accommodation Order to all homeless households, which will end the use of B&B’s in Scotland, apart from in emergency situations.”