An IRR discussion paper on the Housing and Planning and Immigration Bills 2015-16.
The Housing and Planning and Immigration Bills, currently going through parliament, contain measures which are central to the Conservatives’ stated belief in cohesive ‘One Nation’ government. In a discussion paper published by the IRR today, criminologist Dr Jon Burnett argues that the rapid social transformation that will inevitably take place through these mutually-reinforcing housing and immigration measures will be destructive for social cohesion. In fact, the break-up and displacement of multicultural neighbourhoods, coupled with the extended reach of immigration policing, will accentuate extremes of inequality in the inner city and lead to a marked deterioration in the quality of life for BAME communities.
Focusing largely on London, Entitlement and belonging suggests that a ‘SUS culture’ is developing in the UK as the ‘hostile environment principle’, long- established in immigration policy, is extended into housing. The government argues that nationally-implemented ‘right to rent’ checks, imposing a duty on landlords to carry out immigration profiling and allowing summary eviction of tenants, are ‘justifiable’ measures aimed at forcing out those who have no legal right to stay in the country. Yet even its own evaluation provided compelling evidence of discrimination against BAME citizens.
According to Dr Burnett, author of the research: ‘In rolling out the measures, the government risks rolling out discrimination. Equally concerning though is the ideological assumptions underpinning the legislation about “who” belongs in particular localities. The poor in multicultural neighbourhoods are being dispossessed of their rights and uprooted from where they live. They have been deemed eminently disposable.’
The IRR hopes that this publication can encourage as wide a discussion as possible about the legislation as well as the wider goals of ‘One Nation’ government. IRR Director, Liz Fekete, asks: ‘Given that the cosmopolitan and multicultural nature of London was our brand in the Olympic bid, shouldn’t we be concerned when multicultural London is abandoned in favour of a more elitist and monocultural urban future?’
Entitlement and belonging: social restructuring and multicultural Britain can be downloaded here (pdf file, 401kb)