May unrepentant over Right to Rent rejection by High Court

PM references prospects for appeal when challenged at PMQs over a policy “fanning the flames of racism” that the High Court ruled breached human rights.

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Accused of pursuing a policy that promoted racism, Theresa May was unrepentant over the High Court ruling that Right to Rent breached human rights law.

At PMQs today (March 6), Lib-Dem Sir Vince Cable challenged May to renounce Right to Rent as “fanning the flames of racism”.

But May kept faith with the discredited concept of Rent to Right telling Cable she “understood” the Home Office was working on grounds to appeal.

Last week, the High Court delivered a damning blow to the policy as a breach of human rights law, with Justice Spencer concluding that discrimination by landlords was taking place “because of the Scheme”.

The government’s own evaluation had, said Justice Spencer, failed to consider discrimination on grounds of nationality at all – only on grounds of ethnicity.

Right to Rent made landlords responsible for checking the immigration status of their tenants, with the prospect of prosecution if they know or have “reasonable cause to believe” the property they are letting is occupied by someone who does not have the right to rent in the UK.

It was introduced by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary as a key plank of the government’s ‘hostile environment’ for illegal immigrants.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) joined with Liberty to intervene in a case brought by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) to have the policy declared as incompatible with human rights.

This was on the grounds that Right to Rent was leading to discrimination against non-UK nationals, who might be in the country legitimately, and British ethnic minorities.

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