Thatcherism and the policy of RTB

Topics: Margaret Thatcher, Council house, Public housing Pages: 14 (4677 words) Published: December 21, 2014
Academic Writing
Author: Qin Jialu
Supervisor: Professor Shi Tongyun
June 21, 2014
Tel: 18603550789

Pursuing Her Democracy, Leaving the Poor Behind
---On Thatcher’s Privatization of Council Housing: Right to Buy

Abstract
Thatcher’s policies revolving around privatization are a controversial gift to British people, among which the RTB policy, whose ultimate goal is to privatize council housing, has continuously been held in debate about its effect on British society. This paper explores the relationship between the ideology Mrs. Thatcher believed and the effects of her policy which was guided by this ideology through the analysis of RTB policy in Britain. This paper firstly introduces “Thatcher’s democracy” characterized by individualism that acted as the agent of all her privatization policies, then studies the detailed terms contained in the RTB policy, which to a great extent facilitated the sale of council housing, and lastly evaluates the legacy left by the RTB policy to the poor in terms of the insufficient supply, the worsening of the homelessness problem and the reduced quality of council houses. Through the analysis, this paper comes to the conclusion that the RTB policy is too radical to regard as a successful housing policy concerning the harsh situation left to the poor which can be attributive to its initial deviation from the rationale of a housing policy.

Keywords: Thatcherism, Housing policy, Right to buy, Radical reform, Poor people

Outline

I. Introduction
II. Thatcherism
A. British New Right
B. Democracy characterized by individualism
C. Property-Owning Democracy
III. Main issues included in the policy of Right to Buy (RTB) A. Tenants eligible to buy council housing
B. Discount for tenants who buy their rented houses
C. Rules of mortgage
IV. The impacts of the RTB policy on the poor people
A. Homeless people
1. Insufficient supply
2. Increased rents
3. Decreased subsidises
B. Council tenants
1. Poor quality
2. Identity stigma
V. Conclusion

I. Introduction
“Waste of money!” This doesn’t sound like something nice to chant about the cost of someone’s funeral, especially when the person is a prior leader of a country who is supposed to receive respect for the service he/she has provided for the people. However, that is exactly what happened when Mrs. Thatcher’s coffin passed an intersection where around three hundred demonstrators gathered to show their opposition against her policies of privatization (Marsden). The opponents accused the government of using tax payers’ money to pay for Thatcher’s funeral cost which amounted to as high as ten million pounds. They argued that the cost of Thatcher’s funeral should also be “privatized” since they, as tax payers, had been suffering from the cut of government’ public expense following Thatcher’s privatization policies (Palmer, Vicky and Andy). Right to Buy, a privatization policy of council housing, was among the first policies involved in Thatcher’s privatization reforms. Up until 1980s when it was Thatcher’s term of office, council housing had been playing an important role in Britain in meeting the demand for housing since the early 1900s. After WWI, the existing council houses were not sufficient to settle down the masses who had fought for their country, so the first council housing program emerged as the time required: “homes fit for heroes”. From 1914 to 1971, the share of public rented sector in British housing tenure maintained a steady rise. However, the enormous number of council houses and the high level of government subsidies to housing rent constituted a heavy burden on British financial budget. Actually, in 1976, British government had to borrow money from IMF (International Monetary Fund) to keep their domestic economy running (Liu 123). In the context of British depressed economy came Mrs. Thatcher. The iron lady, as soon as she came into charge in 1979, began radical...

Cited: Callaghan, James. Time and Chance. London: Collins, 1987. 571. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
Clg.gov.uk. Table 102. Web. 2 Jun. 2014.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2453431/More-10-000-tenants-purchased-properties-Right-Buy-scheme-year.html
Conservative Manifesto, 1979
Garnet, Mark, and Philip Lynch. “Ideology and Party Competition”. Exploring British Politics. 2nd ed. 416. Hampshire: Ashford Colour Press, 2009. 416. Print.
Kavanagh, Dennis, David Richards, Judge Andrew Geddes, and Martin Smith. “The Historical Context: British Politics since 1945”. British Politics. 5th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. 32. Print.
Khosla, Meera. “Right to Buy: Thatcher’s first divisive policy”. Social Housing Watch. 8 May. 2013. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
Mao Rui. 撒切尔政府私有化政策研究 [M]. 2005.
Marsden, Sam. “Margaret Thatcher 's funeral: protesters turn their backs on coffin.” The Telegraph. 17 Apr. 2013. Web. 10 May 2014.
Morrison, James. “Local authorities and housing policy.” Essential Public Affairs for Journalists. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. 494-519. Print.
Palmer, Alun, Vicky Smith, and Andy Lines
Quinault, Roland. “Margaret Thatcher”. British Prime Minister and Democracy. London: the Continuum International Publishing Group, 2011. 173-199. Print.
Stephens, Mark, Christine Whitehead, and Moira Munro. “Lessons from the Past, Challenges for the Future for Housing Policy.” West Yorkshire: ODPM Publications, 2005.
Thatcher, Margaret
Thatcher, Margaret. What’s Wrong with Politics? Conservative Political Centre (CPC) Lecture. 1968 Oct 11 Fr. Web. 31 May 2014.
Welikala, Judith. “Right to Buy: Thatcher’s First Divisive Policy”. Social Housing. Web. 27 Apr. 2014.
http://socialhousingwatch.co.uk/right-to-buy-thatchers-first-divisive-policy/
Wilcox, Steve. “A financial Evaluation of the Right to Buy”. UK Housing Review. Jul. 2006. PDF.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Essay about Thatcherism
  • Thatcherism Essay
  • Essay about policy
  • Historical policy Essay
  • Policy Essay
  • The Federal Reserve and Monetary Policy Essay
  • Essay on Policy
  • Thatcherism and Conservatism Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free