With rapid population growth, a long-term dearth in new housing construction, the emergence of ‘generation rent’ and rising homelessness, the issue of housing in the UK is considered complex, open-ended and intractable.
Using insights from public choice theory, the new institutionalism and social constructionism Housing Politics in the United Kingdom locates the contemporary ‘housing question’ in historically entrenched power relationships involving markets, planning, and territorial electoral politics.
Written to complement the 3rd edition of the author’s bestselling Understanding housing policy (forthcoming, 2017), this book will be essential reading for students of Housing, Social Policy, Social History, Urban Studies, Planning and Political Science.
The 3rd edition of this bestselling textbook has been completely revised to address the range of socio-economic factors that have influenced UK housing policy in the years since the previous edition was published. The issues explored include the austerity agenda, the impact of the Coalition government’s housing policies, the 2015 Conservative government’s policy direction, the evolving devolution agenda and the recent focus on housing supply.
The concluding chapter examines new policy ideas in the context of theoretical approaches to understanding housing policy: laissez-faire economics; social reformism; Marxist political economy; behavioural perspectives and social constructionism. Throughout the textbook, substantive themes are illustrated by boxed examples and case studies.
The author focuses on principles and theory and their application in the process of constructing housing policy, ensuring that the book will be a vital resource for undergraduate and postgraduate level students of housing and planning and related social policy modules.
This chapter argues that the ‘housing studies’ literature has had a propensity to concentrate on policy outcomes and the roles of industrialisation, capitalism and globalisation in determining continuity and change in housing policy. Such emphasis has meant that the influence of political processes, that is, the struggles to secure control, make decisions and implement them, supported by the state’s authority, have tended to be neglected. Theoretical frameworks such as the new institutionalism, social constructionism and public choice theory, useful in capturing political processes, are considered. The roles of the various ‘actors’ in the political process are outlined: promotional and economic interest groups; think tanks; political parties; the European Union; devolved governments; the Westminster Parliament; the Core Executive; government departments and the electorate.
This chapter explores political conflicts over the land issue. It examines the role of land value in house prices over time, the thinking underlying Henry George’s land tax proposal, the fate of the various attempts to tax betterment value and Lloyd George’s challenge to the landed aristocracy. The politics of planning controls are reviewed with particular reference to the influence of interest groups such as the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England. The fortunes of Green Belts, New Towns, Eco-towns, Regional Development Agencies and the local use and national responses to development control are investigated. The connections between planning control and the containment of urban Britain are examined as are the electoral politics of land release in the 2010 and 2015 General Elections.
This chapter begins with an examination of 19th century public health politics exploring why Edwin Chadwick’s explanation of differential mortality rates was politically acceptable whilst an alternative explanation was rejected. It then investigates the slum and overcrowding issues relating action to alleviate the problem to the idea of externalities, the eugenics movement and the vested interests involved in property. The Conservative Party’s sanitary solution and Labour’s suburban answer to the housing question are explored. The 1950s and 1960s slum clearance drive is related to Green Belts and the politics involved in containing urban Britain. Area based policies are reviewed as are policy switches between property and people based initiatives. The Coalition government’s abandonment of specific area-based initiatives in favour of a whole city approach is examined.
This chapter charts the politics involved in the decline and post 1997 growth in the private landlord sector of the housing market. Slum landlord politics in the 19th and early 20th centuries are examined with particular reference to landlord involvement in local politics and labour movement attitudes to private landlords, culminating in the Glasgow rent strike. The electoral politics of rent control from 1915 are explored with the 1957 Rent Act given detailed consideration. The political reasons for the growth in private landlordism post 1997 are investigated with the role of Buy to Let highlighted. The contemporary politics of private landlordism are considered in relationship to the growth of generation rent, Housing Benefit expenditure, rent regulation and institutional investment in private landlordism.
This chapter explores the political fortunes of the Conservative Party’s quest to create a property-owning democracy. It examines Stanley Baldwin’s support for the owner-occupation dimension of Noel Skelton’s property-owning democracy idea to win the votes of the working class elite and how this was reflected in building society endorsement and suburban values. The politics of homeownership are charted with particular reference to Labour party leadership’s endorsement of homeownership and internal party divisions on the role of tax relief on mortgage interest in supporting owner-occupation. The politics of boom/bust house price fluctuations are charted. Right to Buy politics are examined as are the attempts of the Coalition government and the 2015 Conservative to revive homeownership as private landlordism continued to grow.
This chapter examines the politics involved in local authority housing supply. It records hostility to the idea, especially to subsidised council housing, at the end of the 19th century and Lloyd-George’s crucial role in securing its acceptance in 1918. It charts Conservative attempts to direct state help towards needs arising from slum clearance and its implications for housing form. The politics involved in the growth of council housing in the post Second World War period are examined in relationship to the Conservative revival of the sanitary approach, the protection of rural Britain, high- rise construction and the role of the architectural profession. The political implications of the residualisation of council housing are explored with reference to the image of council housing and attitudes towards its tenants.
This chapter examines political attitudes to housing associations, regarded in the 1970s as housing’s third arm. It explores the politics involved in the changing fortunes of housing associations from the preferred mechanism for producing social housing in the late 19th and early 20th century to a niche role in the 1950s and 1960s followed by a leading role in social housing supply from the 1970s, with housing association diversity appealing to different parties for different reasons. Internal housing association politics, stock transfer from local government and the changing nature of housing associations are reviewed culminating in an exploration of the politics entailed in the Conservative Party’s 2015 manifesto commitment to extend the Right to Buy to housing association tenants.
This chapter focuses on the salience of homelessness constructions reviewing how the various meanings attached to homelessness ― masterless men, vagrancy, destitution’, houseless poor’, rootless’, statutory homeless and rough sleepers ― have had lasting political importance with their structural/agency dimensions framing wider debates on the housing issue. It examines the political processes involved in homelessness designations reflected in the Poor Law, vagrancy legislation, the 1977 Housing (Homeless Persons) Act, rough sleeper initiatives and the prevention strategy adopted by New Labour and the Coalition government. It explores the application of the perverse incentives notion to homelessness and the political importance of the headline figures generated by the operations of homelessness legislation. The politics of Housing First are examined.