THE use of red doors for asylum accommodation was "inadvertent", a Home Office review has concluded.

A furore erupted last month after claims that refugees living in Middlesbrough were housed in properties with red doors that made them a target for racism and vandalism.

The Government launched an immediate audit in response to the controversy over homes owned by Jomast, a subcontractor of services giant G4S.

Giving an update on its findings to MPs today (Tuesday, February 9), Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said that the issue of red doors did not feature in interviews with around 60 asylum seekers.

He added that inquiries to local police revealed no reports of links to anti-social behaviour or stigmatisation.

Mr Brokenshire told the Commons Home Affairs committee: "The doors were painted a predominant colour.

"Our conclusion is that rather than that being a policy to identify, that was simply a means of the contractor managing its maintenance by using that colour.

"Clearly by the reports that we saw, there was concern as to whether that could then lead to stigmatisation, whether that could lead to isolation.

"One of the clear recommendations that came from our audit is that housing providers should ensure that properties used to accommodate asylum seekers cannot be easily identified either as a deliberate policy or inadvertently.

"Our assessment on this is that this was inadvertent but the clear issue on being able to distinguish is not right, is not appropriate."

Jomast boss Stuart Monk told the same committee in a previous hearing that the properties were not deliberately painted in the colour.

Mr Monk, who has an estimated fortune of £175 million, claimed "a lot has been made" of the issue.

Work began to repaint the doors last month.

Mr Brokenshire also said the Government is looking to expand the number of local authorities which are designated as "dispersal" areas for accommodating asylum seekers.

Under the scheme, councils sign up voluntarily in order to ensure housing of refugees is shared around the country.

Figures have recently revealed a spike in asylum applications in the UK amid the ongoing international migration crisis.

Meanwhile, the committee was told that around 12,000 people departed the country voluntarily with assistance from the Government in the year to September.

This was a 25 per cent increase on the number who left under the scheme in the previous 12 months.

The MPs also heard from James Vyvyan-Robinson, director of Clearspring Ready Homes Ltd, which provides transportation and accommodation for asylum seekers.

The firm recently came under fire for giving asylum seekers in Cardiff brightly coloured wristbands to wear in order to claim food - a practice that was compared to the treatment of the Jews by the Nazis.

The wristbands have since been replaced with photo IDs.

Mr Vyvyan-Robinson told the committee that wristbands were often used for holidaymakers to demonstrate they were entitled to food.

But he accepted the idea had "consequences we were not aware of".

"I'm not going to defend the wristband process. I think we have realised now there is a better way of doing it," he said.

"If we have upset anybody and we have caused any issues in terms of people who have been picked out or abused or in any way harmed, then yes, I would apologise."