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Welcome to the learning4housing blog. I will be posting my thoughts and opinions on a range of issues facing the social housing sector. You are more than welcome to post your comments, whether you agree or disagree on the points. The aim here is to stimulate some debate on these issues, whether they are about current government policy or about best practice in housing management or strategy.

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Tuesday, September 14

Reduction in Social Housing

There is an article in today's Guardian about the reduction in social housing that is available in various London boroughs.

This is one of the outcomes of deliberate government policy over several years. Policies such as the right to buy, which resulted in over 2 million homes being lost to the social sector since 1980, whilst housing associations, which were supposed to take over the development role, only succeeded in building about 1 million during the same period. So there has been a dramatic reduction in socially rented homes both in absolute and percentage terms in recent years.

Government statistics paint a depressing picture:

Here are some of the numbers:

In 1981, there were a total of 17.9m dwellings of all tenure in England, of which 10.7m were owner-occupied and 5.2m (or 29%) were rented from local authorities and housing associations.

In 2007, there were a total of 22.2m dwellings, with 15.5m owner-occupied and only 3.9m (17.6%) socially rented.

The shift towards owner-occupation - which has been a stated policy aim of successive governments - has clearly led to a number of benefits for individual families, who have generated sometimes considerable personal wealth in the process, particularly at times of rapidly rising house-price inflation. But has this been at a wider cost to those who maybe aspire to owner-occupation, but do not have either the resources to enter or to sustain a long-term commitment to home-ownership with all the expense that it incurs?

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