How Has Policy for Social Rented Housing Developed Since 1979?

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9.How has policy for social rented housing developed since 1979? 10.Discuss the intentions and impact of policies for home ownership since 1979. 11: HOUSING

Up to the 1970s housing policy was an integral part of the classic welfare state

With the triumph of private homeownership, government housing policy has all but disappeared,

broken up into a series of separate measures concerned with

privatisation

‘affordability’ (rents, mortgages and house prices)

regeneration (raising quality)

homelessness

Governments in 70s got complacent about housing needs because of •popularity of home ownership
success in clearing slums and
achieving social minimum standards for the majority

But today:
600,000 households are overcrowded

housing wealth more polarised than ever

councils accepted over 57,000 families as homeless in 2008

67,000 families in temporary accommodation at the end of 2008

estimated need for 240,000 new homes a year, but only 80,000 starts this year

shortage of supply pushes up rents and house prices

Tenure - socio-legal relations involved in housing consumption; major tenures are:
home ownership, owner occupation (oo)
private rental (pr)
social rental: non-profit, public subsidy
council (ch)
housing association (ha)

% UKoochhapr

190010189
1953321850
19815829211
199266213 10
20067010811

see Lloyd (2009) Figure 4 % oo’s falling since 2005 for first time ever
The idea of ‘housing policy' now problematic

– ‘wobbly pillar’ of the welfare state:

Over 80% of housing in Britain is financed and consumed in the ‘private' sectors (owner occupation or private renting) and almost all house construction and maintenance is carried out privately

housing policy is secondary to the power of markets and private interests in the housing system, and this has always been so, except from 1939-51.

implementation of housing policy in the public sector is delegated to a local bodies such as local authorities (boroughs), housing associations and rent officer services.

Such bodies have considerable discretion in their interpretation and development of housing policy at the local level.

Housing policy from 1920s to 1970s
private renting pushed into decline by slum clearance and lack of public subsidy

council housing and owner occupation are officially sponsored tenures of choice

Mid 70s onwards
intensified drive for owner occupation as only tenure of choice;

public spending on housing retrenched

recessions increased risks including homelessness, repossession and eviction

decline and ‘privatisation’ of council housing with sale of council houses and withdrawal of ‘bricks and mortar’ subsidies for building social housing

Housing Benefit (1980) - means-tested benefit for social and private tenants; most costly element of housing policy

HOME OWNERSHIP IN THE 1980s: 2 KEY POLICIES

1. Right to Buy with big discounts for council tenants - Housing Act, 1980 •By end ‘95 almost 1.7 million UK council homes sold generating receipts of over £26bn with discounts of further £24bn

particularly disadvantageous to minority ethnic communities, lone mothers and very low-income households

2. Deregulation of Mortgage Finance: 1986 measures allowed building societies to increase their borrowing and opened up mortgage market to more competition

Mortgage rationing disappeared, lenders willing to lend increasing proportions of properties' value, exposing themselves and borrowers to greater risk

cost of mortgage interest tax relief, the most significant ‘subsidy’ to owner occupiers, jumped from £2.2 billion in 1980/81 to £4.8 billion in 1985/86

first half of 1980s saw the peak of pro-homeownership policy.

Thereafter government gradually accepted that encouragement of homeownership...
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