RACISM IN HOUSING (UK) – STUART HALL FOUNDATION RACE REPORT, 2021

February 4, 2021

Key statistics

  • Ethnic inequalities in housing stem from the particular settlement experiences of postwar migrants to the UK in terms of the location and housing access afforded to them.This is consolidated by dramatic changes to the UK’s housing landscape over recent decades, which have, to a large extent, exacerbated housing disadvantage for minorities. Evidence reveals stark and persistent ethnic inequalities in housing: (1) Census data analysis shows differences across ethnic minority households in housing tenure and overcrowding; (2) At least 1 in 3 households of some ethnic groups (Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Black African) live in overcrowded conditions compared to 1 in 20 white households; (3) Ethnic minority households are over-represented as statutory homeless in Britain and a person’s ethnicity is one of the key characteristics that increases the likelihood of experiencing homelessness; (4) New migrant groups show an overwhelming concentration in the private rented sector with associated vulnerability to housing precarity.
  • Housing law, systems and practices create disadvantage for minorities and migrants in the UK: (1) Practices of discrimination and racism exist in housing, for example in restricting ethnic minority households from entering specific housing tenures in Britain; (2)The tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 ,which disproportionately befell ethnic minorities and migrants, has shed light on the challenges for the social rented sector including the lack of housing supply.The tragedy also exposes the systemic failuresof existing social housing structures to maintain quality housing and to provide clear processes of accountability for tenants; (3) Policy changes such as the ‘Right to Buy’
    have significantly reduced the social housing stock and this has had an adverse impact on specific ethnic minority groups; (4) Policies such as the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme have helped many ethnic minority households enter owner-occupied housing but have also increased the financial risk that these first-time homeowners encounter by granting them mortgages that they would have previously been denied; (5) Recent changes to immigration law have disadvantaged minorities in housing, for example, the ‘right to rent’ procedures.
  • Addressing ethnic disadvantage in housing requires better data and increased research investment to understand experiences, causes of disadvantage and impacts of recent policy changes. It also requires political commitment and collaborative action to make use of this evidence to bring about more equitable housing systems and practices.(Taken from Ethnicity, Race and Inequality in the UK – State of the Nation, 2000, pp.149–150)
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