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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Right To Rent - government under pressure on two fronts

The government’s flagship immigration Right To Rent policy is under threat on two fronts.

Firstly a cross-party group of MPs has written to Home Secretary Sajid Javid telling him to scrap or review Right To Rent. 

The call, in the form of a letter signed by MPs from the Labour, Liberal Democrat, Scotting National, Plaid Cymru and Green parties, was a separate issue to the High Court challenge to the measure started yesterday by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants. 

Signatories to the letter include Caroline Lucas, Diane Abbott, Harriet Harman, Joanna Cherry and Ben Lake. They make reference to a report released earlier this year by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt, which found that Right To Rent required changes because it “had yet to demonstrate its worth as a tool to encourage immigration compliance.”

The letter from MPs emphasised that the ICIBI “was particularly concerned with the lack of any monitoring or evaluation mechanisms that would allow the government to ascertain whether the scheme was having its intended effect, or whether it is creating unintended consequences”.

The MPs wrote: “The Windrush scandal has drawn attention to the effects of the so-called hostile environment ... It also provides a stark warning of the consequences that can be expected when ministers and officials fail to respond to the repeated warnings of experts about the impact of their policies.”

If the scheme had to remain in place, the MPs wrote, it should be amended to “implement the recommendations set out by the ICIBI as a matter of urgency.”

The Home Office says it conducted extensive consultations before introducing Right To Rent and added: “We noted the Independent Chief Inspectors’ recommendations on the  Right To Rent scheme and we continue to take steps to ensure it is implemented and communicated as effectively as possible.”

Secondly, as we reported yesterday afternoon, the High Court has agreed to allow a judicial review of the government’s Right to Rent policy.

The Residential Landlords Association supported an application by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants in the High Court for a Judicial Review of the policy. 

Both organisations argued that the policy discriminated against foreign nationals, especially those, such as the Windrush generation, who cannot easily prove their right to remain in the UK.

“Landlords will welcome the High Court decision to allow a judicial review of the Right to Rent policy which has put them in the impossible position of acting as untrained Border Police trying to ascertain who does and who does not have the right to be in the country. This has created difficulties for many legitimate tenants as landlords are forced to play safe and only rent to those with a UK passport" says David Smith, policy director for the RLA.

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