Britain's housing market is broken. A mass council housebuilding project is the perfect solutionby Chaminda Jayanetti / January 10, 2019 / Leave a comment
This week’s landmark
cross-party report on council and social housing brought a much-needed
injection of reality into a housing debate that has spent decades fixated on
homeownership and worthless wheezes designed to create new classes of “affordable”
housing that aren’t actually affordable.
report calls for three million new council and social housing units to be built
over the next 20 years, outpacing the mass building programme that followed the
second world war. The programme would address urgent housing needs—but would
also provide housing for more than a million young people and 700,000 older
people stuck in the private rented sector.
bracing ambition of the report raises an important and oft-overlooked question:
who, and what, is council housing for? In its modern denuded state, and at a
time of soaring homelessness and hunger, we tend to see it as being just for “the
poorest,” like an extension of the benefit system.
The doctor, the butcher, the labourer
It wasn’t always thus. The original vision of the postwar Labour government’s council housebuilding programme was to create socially mixed communities where, in housing minister Nye Bevin’s words, “the doctor, the grocer, the butcher and the … labourer all lived in the same street.” That was before the doctor, the grocer and the butcher took advantage of Thatcher’s Right to Buy revolution.
there’s a more pressing arg…