Welfare and immigration policies have led to renters from ethnic minority communities being much more likely to live in unaffordable housing, says the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). 

Its new report – What’s Causing Structural Racism in Housing? – says two in ten Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) households across the UK live in unaffordable housing (defined as spending more than 30% of your income on housing), double the national average for white households.

The charity says the benefit cap disproportionately limits the incomes of BAME families; eight in 20 households affected by the benefit cap in England are BAME, although they only make up three in 20 of the population.

It adds that the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) policy bars people with temporary immigration status from accessing the social security system.

Unaffordable housing

JRF’s analysis shows how BAME workers in lower paid occupations in London – probably subject to NRPF – are three times as likely to be living in unaffordable housing, at risk of poverty and homelessness, compared to white workers. 

It says that although direct discrimination against BAME groups by landlords has long preceded the Right to Rent rules, the government’s decision to devolve immigration policy to landlords by making it a criminal offence to let to people without leave to remain in the UK, has further fostered this practice.

All but one of the 10 most ethnically diverse local authorities in England outside London has a significantly higher rate of eviction possession claims than the 10 least diverse.  

Darren Baxter, policy & partnerships manager at JRF (pictured), says: “These injustices are not inevitable, but they have wide foundations in our economy, society and legislation.

“If we do not look closely at the systems which are holding people back, we will only continue to see evidence of shocking racial inequalities in our society.” 


  1. Surely you are describing a lower level of pay in this group. Which makes a product such as housing relatively less affordable. But the same applies to anything they may need to purchase. The problem is issues in obtaining equal opportunity in earnings not the cost of rent.

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