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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2005): Social Housing - UK

FIRST-TIME BUYERS OFFERED £60,000 HOMES

C. Brown

The Independent, Jan. 25th 2005, p.5

First-time buyers are to be offered homes for £60,000 under plans by John Prescott. Up to 80,000 first-time buyers will be helped by the construction of low-cost starter homes on public land. English Partnerships, a quango in charge of regeneration, will offer 30 per cent of the houses for a target price of £60,000. Half of the homes will be offered to public-sector workers in equity stakes of 10 per cent. The price of the land is likely to add an extra £40,000 to the cost and English Partnerships will retain a 40 per cent stake in the property until the buyers pay in full.

(See also The Independent, Jan. 25th 2005, p.24; The Daily Telegraph, Jan. 25th 2005, p.4)

HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS, THE CREATION OF COMMUNITIES AND POWER RELATIONS

M. McDermont

Housing Studies, vol.19, 2004, p.855-874

After considering early claims by housing associations to be community builders, the paper analyses:

  • the expansion of the sector in the 1970s through a successful attachment to a policy switch towards inner city renewal through property renovation;
  • the impact of homelessness in tying in housing associations' priorities with local authority practices through the formalisation of nomination agreements;
  • the impact of private finance in switching association activity to constructing large estates which became prime resources for the relief of homelessness.

However, in 1993 the Page Report created an understanding within housing associations that the sector was heading for a crisis by building "problem estates". Associations responded by taking back control of their activities and seeking to build sustainable communities independent of local authorities' perceptions of housing need.

JUSTIFYING CONDITIONALITY: THE CASE OF ANTI-SOCIAL TENANTS

A. Deacon

Housing Studies, vol.19, 2004, p.911-926

Paper briefly outlines three arguments that have been put forward to justify conditionality in welfare, the contractualist, the paternalist and the mutualist justifications. It then considers the force of these arguments in respect of New Labour's approach to anti-social tenants. Concludes that it is possible to formulate a powerful case for the kinds of measures that New Labour is currently taking by integrating elements of the three justifications. It is argued that these measures should not be viewed as necessarily disciplinary in intent or in effect. Measures to enforce the obligations that people owe each other are not incompatible with policies to widen opportunities for self-fulfilment and reduce social exclusion.

THE RESPONSIBLE TENANT: HOUSING GOVERNANCE AND THE POLITICS OF BEHAVIOUR

J.Flint

Housing Studies, vol.19, 2004, p.893-909

The promotion and facilitation of tenant responsibility is a central rationale in recent UK government housing and anti-social behaviour policy documents. The paper draws on policy documents, interviews with housing practitioners and case studies of housing management initiatives to explore how "good and acceptable behaviour" is conceptualised within social housing governance rationales, and how attempts are made to reinforce this desired conduct, based upon a concept of the responsible tenant.

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