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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2009): Social housing - UK

Housing poverty: from social breakdown to social mobility

Housing and Dependency Working Group

Centre for Social Justice, 2008

Report shows how once stable and prosperous working class communities have degenerated into sink estates whose residents are mostly dependent on benefits. In order to counter this trend, it calls for local authorities and housing associations to be given more freedom in allocation social tenancies. Short-term tenancies could be offered to those training for, or seeking, work, and families could be forced to relinquish large dwellings once their children have grown up and left.

Housing policy for young people: constructions and contradictions

M. Seal

Youth and Policy, no. 100, 2008, p. 197-207

The process of young people leaving the family home in the UK has been variously constructed as the loss or gain of income for the family, as a transition to a new economic unit, as a cultural transition and finally as a pathway to adulthood. The housing policies which have responded to these constructions of young people have, in turn also been inconsistent and contradictory, leaving many young people in a precarious position with regard to housing. Both Conservative and New Labour administrations over the past 25 years have assumed that young people will remain in the family home until able to live independently. Social housing provision for young single people forced out by family breakdown or leaving home to study has therefore been inadequate.

Interest-free loan for new home buyers

R. Prince

Daily Telegraph, Dec. 16th 2008, p.2

Public funds will be used to buy 18,000 new houses unsold due to the current recession. Middle and low-income households will be eligible to apply for interest-free loans to cover a deposit worth up to 30% of the cost of the property. The loans will be free of charge for the first five years.

Mortgage help for middle class

R. Winnett and A. Porter

Daily Telegraph, Dec. 4th 2008, p. 1 + 2

In order to cut repossessions, government is to introduce a mortgage guarantee plan. Under the terms of the plan, households with mortgages of up to 400,000 will be able to defer a proportion of their interest payments for up to two years if they suffer a significant loss of income due to, for example, unemployment. The government will reimburse lenders if missed payments are not subsequently made good by the borrower.

Threat to housing associations

P. Wintour

The Guardian, Dec. 17th 2008, p. 5

Margaret Beckett, the treasury and housing minister, is set to warn banks that their lending practices are risking the viability of housing associations. Six medium to large housing associations are said to be in serious financial difficulty.

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