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

Different roads? Evidence about the changing provision of English social housing

K. Gibb and K. Trebeck

International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis, vol.2, 2009, p. 373-391

Social housing in the UK has undergone over 20 years of substantial restructuring, but there has been little research comparing different forms of contemporary social housing. This paper presents case studies of two local authorities which transferred council housing stock to housing associations and two which set up arm's-length management organisations (ALMOs) with which to run their housing operations. The providers are compared and contrasted through interviews with stakeholders, backed up with secondary and other documentary evidence.

Housing, schools and communities

J. Thornhill and J. Kent Smith

Coventry: Chartered Institute of Housing, 2009

This report makes the case for social housing providers to increase engagement with schools and local communities. It highlights pockets of best practice, praising some successful partnership working in the social housing sector, but says that this must become more widespread. It argues that schools and social housing providers have shared responsibilities for tackling child poverty, antisocial behaviour and unemployment and to promote community cohesion and the empowerment of young people.

Magic in the mix

R. Bayley

Roof, Nov./Dec. 2009, p. 37-39

This article tells the story of Lissenden Gardens, a five-storey, red-brick mansion-block estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath in London. The estate was purchased by Camden Council in the 1970s from its private owners. About half the residents are council tenants and the rest are a mixture of leaseholders and private tenants. Lissenden Gardens works well as a mixed community for 30 years and provides lessons for other mixed estates.

A new dawn for council housing


Labour Research, Nov. 2009, p. 17-18

After years of selling off council housing, the government has signalled a change of direction and is committing money to new building. It has pledged a contribution of 127m to a 250m programme, with the 47 councils with housing responsibilities across England and Wales making up the balance. It has subsequently announced a further 180m investment for local authority house building to fund construction of 1,200 council homes in addition to the earlier pledge.

Social tenants, attachment to place and work in the post-industrial labour market: underlining the limits of housing-based explanations of labour immobility?

D.R. Fletcher

Housing Studies, vol. 24, 2009, p. 775-791

Policymakers have increasingly highlighted the role of social housing in restricting the job-related mobility of tenants. This paper draws upon in-depth interviews with residents of the Manor estate in Sheffield to discuss the strength of housing-based explanations of worklessness. It finds that residents have responded to industrial decline by drawing on local social networks to access employment. They are unwilling to sever local ties in order to access low-paid, insecure jobs in the service sector which are frequently experienced as exploitative and demeaning.

Treasury hit as council housing demand grows

P. Wintour

The Guardian, Nov. 23rd 2009, p. 11

Nearly 90 local councils, including large Conservative ones such as Birmingham, have bid to build another 3,500 council homes as soon as possible. Demand for council housing is much greater than government predictions - the Department for Communities and Local Government had budgeted for 1,200 homes. This bid comes on top of proposals for 2,200 homes given the go-ahead by the Department in summer 2009.

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