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

An introduction to social housing. 2nd ed.

P. Reeves

Oxford: Elsevier, 2005

The provision and management of social housing for those who are unable to access the housing market is essential to the maintenance of the fabric of society. The social housing industry is vast and still growing. There are very few countries in the world where some form of social housing does not exist, and the total number of social homes is likely to grow, as are the challenges facing the sector. This book describes the themes that have run through the provision of social housing from the 19th century through to the increasingly complex mixture of ownerships and tenures found in the present day. The management of housing forms a key part of the book, with an emphasis on the practical aspects of tenant participation and multi-agency working.

The big picture

M. Stephens

Roof, Sept./Oct. 2005, p.42-44

Author reflects on developments in English housing policy since 1975. Due to the division of responsibility for housing issues between the Department of the Environment and the Treasury, policy has lacked strategic direction. Following a decline in the production of social housing, the sector has become residualised and offers a safety net for the homeless and the very poor. Deregulation of housing finance led to loosened lending criteria and enabled previously excluded groups such as single women to buy their own homes. Increases in demand led to house price inflation, as the supply side failed to respond with sufficient new build properties.

Wrong to buy

S. Wilcox

Roof, Sept./Oct.2005, p.16-17

Article reflects on the impact of the tenant's right to buy on the availability of social housing. There has been a considerable negative impact on the supply of social housing due to the loss of relets, but this has emerged more slowly than predicted. This is due to 1) increased "turnover" of tenants in the council sector, and 2) the tendency of people who have bought their home under the scheme to stay put. If money raised from council house sales was reinvested in building new social housing, the impact of the scheme could in fact be positive.

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