A cross-party group of Opposition MPs have written to the Home Secretary urging a review of the Right to Rent policy, it was reported today.
According to The Guardian, the group has raised serious concerns over the way the scheme is monitored and evaluated – following a report released in March by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI), David Bolt.
The letter’s signatories include the Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott MP, the former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and now Chair of Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights, Harriet Harman MP, the SNP’s Home Affairs Spokesperson, Joanna Cherry MP, Plaid Cymru’s Ben Lake MP, the Green Party Co-Leader, Caroline Lucas MP and the Lib Dem’s Home Affairs Spokesperson, Tom Brake MP.
The letter notes 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”.
It continues: “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.”
A Home Office spokesperson has said: “The term ‘hostile environment’ as a description of Home Office immigration policy is incorrect, unhelpful and does not represent our values as a country.
“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.
“The Home Office engaged extensively with a variety of groups prior to the roll out of the right to rent scheme and it has been subject to evaluation, which found no evidence that the scheme was causing unlawful discrimination, homelessness or additional burdens on local authorities.”
It comes as the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants has its bid for a Judicial Review into Right to Rent heard at the High Court today.
Baroness Lister will also be asking an oral question on the right to rent in the House of Lords at 3pm.