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A Tory revolution? The British coalition government and housing

David Fée
p. 69-96

Résumé

En 2011, le logement, contrairement à 1997, date du retour au pouvoir des Travaillistes, compte parmi les priorités du nouveau gouvernement de coalition. Le Royaume-Uni est en effet confronté à une grave crise du logement, qui détermine l’action gouvernementale. S’appuyant sur les recherches et les propositions faites par les conservateurs dans l’opposition, la Coalition a engagé un grand nombre de réformes qui, selon le Premier ministre David Cameron, représentent une véritable révolution dans le domaine du logement. Or, il apparait que la majeure partie des mesures prises depuis mai 2010, loin de rompre avec les politiques travaillistes, ne fait que les décliner. En dépit d’inflexions importantes, justifiées par l’accent placé sur le localisme, c’est bien la continuité qui domine.

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Texte intégral

1Thirteen years after the Labour Party of Tony Blair swept into power in 1997 with a landslide majority of 179, a coalition government was formed in May 2010, the first one to officially run the country since May 1945. The Conservative-Lib Dem coalition is headed by David Cameron who argued before the General Election that what Britain needed was the end of what he called Labour’s “Big Government”. During a seminal speech at the Hugo Young lecture in 2009, the future Prime Minister had blamed the Labour Party for having increased the size of the State and failed to solve some key social issues, while destroying personal responsibility1. The answer lay, according to David Cameron, in creating a more equal, more responsible society where power would be redistributed away from the centre. This vision of an alternative society to the one Labour had fostered was encapsulated in the term “The Big Society”.

  • 2  Put simply, the Big Society is a call to arms to every British citizen, a request for mass engagem (...)
  • 3  Such as localism or decentralisation.
  • 4 The Guardian, 5.10.2011.

2Although the concept behind the expression2 has never been fully grasped by the British general public and has been superseded by other terms3, the Big Society principles have nevertheless informed the policies implemented by the Coalition since the 2010 election. In particular, they have served as a compass to address the many faceted housing crisis inherited by the Coalition on coming to power. Indeed, although the Coalition’s programme for government did not dwell much on housing, the government has embarked on an extensive programme of reform of the housing sector, against a backdrop of economic slowdown. The measures announced or implemented so far draw on the policy review carried out in opposition by the Conservative Party and the pledges made in the 2010 Conservative manifesto. They were said by David Cameron in his closing speech at the 2011 Conservative Conference to amount to “a new Tory Housing Revolution”.4

3This paper would like to explore the extent of the changes that have occurred in the field of housing since the Labour Party left power. Do they build on previous Labour policies or are they fundamentally new? Do they illustrate traditional Conservative concerns with housing in a Conservative dominated coalition? In brief, it shall attempt to determine whether we can speak of a new deal in the field of housing eighteen months after the 2010 general election. First, it will provide a brief reminder of the housing crisis inherited by the Coalition in 2010. Then, it will look at the intense housing policy review in opposition that paved the way for the government’s policies. Finally, it will examine the four official main lines of action in the housing sector and will seek to determine whether they are breaking new ground and we can speak of a new deal.

The Context: a Deep Housing Crisis

  • 5  New Labour, 1997, p. 25-27.

4The Conservative Party inherited a deep housing crisis on being elected in May 2010. Despite remaining in power for 13 years, its predecessor, the Labour Party, had indeed failed to make good the housing shortage it had itself inherited: the rise in house prices had made homeownership and private renting unaffordable for a growing percentage of British people. The Labour Party had been slow to wake up to the need to make housing supply a priority. Indeed, on being elected, the party had only concentrated on the renovation of the council housing stock and the reduction of homelessness as it had pledged to in its manifesto5.

  • 6  ODPM, 2003a, p. 5.
  • 7  Barker, K., 2004, p. 19.

5However, by 2003, two years into their second term, it had become clear that housing supply was not responsive to market forces and British housing conditions were deteriorating: while house prices rose, housing supply did not. Homes were “unaffordable for people on moderate incomes including many key workers”6. So the Labour government decided to grasp the nettle and commissioned a study from Kate Barker, a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee. The first Barker Report came to the conclusion that the housing shortage was a major economic liability for the British economy, as it was shown to reduce employee mobility and competitiveness, to raise recruitment problems in the public services and, to cap it all, to increase social polarisation7. As a result, the Blair government had taken various measures and in particular created a new governance structure for housing: Regional Housing Boards charged with determining regional housing priorities were set up in 2003 and a National Housing Planning Advice Unit (NHPAU) responsible for setting an affordable target for the country was created in 2006. Furthermore, Regional Assemblies - created in 1999 - were made responsible in 2004 for working out a Regional Spatial Strategy, that among other things specified where the new homes should go and how many should be built.

  • 8  Rush, M., Giddings, P., 2008, p. 158.
  • 9  Department of Communities and Local Government, 2007, p. 7.
  • 10  Under the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008.

6The resignation of Tony Blair and the appointment of Gordon Brown in 2007 had led to housing moving up the political agenda8. Gordon Brown had identified house building as “one of the great causes of our time” in his inaugural speech as Prime Minister and announced that for the first time in almost 40 years a housing minister would attend Cabinet meetings. Subsequently, the 2007 housing Green paper pledged to have 240, 000 homes built annually until 20169. The governance of social housing had been further reformed: A new Office for Tenants and Social Landlords (TSA) was created so as to better control the voluntary housing providers and a new Community Infrastructure Levy introduced to make sure that house builders shoulder some of the cost associated with development10.

  • 11  DCLG, 2011f.
  • 12  DCLG, 2010a.
  • 13  DCLG, 2009b, p. 8.
  • 14  DCLG, 2011f.  
  • 15  Department of Environment, 1995,
  • 16  DCLG, 2009a, p. 2.
  • 17  ONS, 2009.

7These government measures were partly successful. Social housing recovered after 2007 and the number of completed units increased from 30,070 units in 1997-98 to 33,600 in 2009-1011; the number of homeless households housed by local authorities was halved between 2004 and 201012 and the renovation of the social housing stock reduced the percentage of non decent council dwellings from 52% to 22% of the stock between 1996 and 200913. However, the credit crunch led to a decline in an already ailing building industry: total production in the UK fell from 190,760 dwellings completed in 1997-98 to 148,260 in 2009-1014. The consequences of this decline were made worse by the constant increase in the rate of new households between 1997 and 2010: whereas the population of England was projected in 1995 to grow by 176 000 households by 201615, this figure was revised upwards in 2009 to 252,000 by 203116. Greater London and the South East were expected to experience the largest population increase and migration, and although fertility was the main driver, net migration played a significant part in the rapidly rising rate of household growth17. This, obviously, had major implications for housing demand between 1997 and 2010.

  • 18  Public Services Improvement Policy Group, 2007, p. 122.
  • 19  DCLG, 20011e, p. 47.
  • 20  Oxford Economics, 2011, p. 15.
  • 21  Shelter, 2011b, p. 3.
  • 22  Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2008, p. 16
  • 23  Public Services Improvement Policy Group, 2007, p. 122.

8As a result, Labour left office in 2010 with an overall poor record in the housing field and its opponents had not failed to stress their failure to turn the situation round. The report of one Conservative policy review group reminded future voters in 2007, that in some areas, only 36% of new households could afford to buy18; it was estimated that 3.1 million of those who were under 35 would still be in rented accommodation by the age of 65, a sign of housing market tension in a country where 86% of the population favour home ownership19. As a result, based on current trends, home ownership is predicted to decline from 72% in 2001 to 64% in 202120. Average private sector rents had become unaffordable for ordinary working families in 55% of local authorities in the country21. The reason was that house prices had outstripped wage increases since 1997 and such was the rise of house prices after 1997, that between 1997 and 2008 prices had risen by 150%, with a peak between 2006 and 200722. Several categories of the population were badly hit, among them public sector employees, young people and more generally first time buyers: since 1999 the ratio of average house prices to average income for first time buyers had risen by 50%23. The housing shortage was most acute in Greater London and the South East and there was no glimmer of hope for the 1.5 million people on council waiting lists.

In Opposition: Rethinking Housing Policy

  • 24  Dorey, P., and Garnett, M., 2011.
  • 25  The remits of the other five were Public Service Improvement, Quality of Life, Social Justice, Nat (...)

9Once elected party leader in December 2005, David Cameron moved very quickly to reposition British Conservatism. This was according to him the only way a party that had polled 32.4 % of the national vote in 2005 could hope to regain power. Attracting the voters that had become disillusioned with Labour, but were still wary of the Conservative Party entailed rethinking Conservative policies and moving beyond Thatcherism24. Not only did he make statements expressing his determination to move away from traditional core Conservative policies (Europe, grammar schools, tax cuts) and signaled his intention to pay more attention to non-traditional issues (the environment), but he launched a major policy review in late 2005. Because the economy was doing well under Labour until 2008 and because there was a need to change the image of the party, five out the six policy review teams appointed by the leader were given the task of focusing on social issues25. This decision indicates David Cameron’s intention to use social reform as a means of stamping his mark on the Conservative Party as he explained three years later at the 2008 annual Conservative conference: “The central task I have set myself and this party is to be as radical in social reform as Margaret Thatcher was in economic reform. That's how we plan to repair our broken society”.

  • 26  “Top-down government seems to belong to another age. Monolithic, unreformed public services do not (...)

10While the review was going on, David Cameron published Built to Last in August 2006, a statement of principles and objectives that he intended to set the Conservative Party. The thrust of the document revolved around the argument that Labour policies had increased the size of the State26 and it provides some of the earliest indications of the housing policies that were to come once the party was in power. The document committed the party to first-class housing tailored to the needs of each individual: more specifically, it contained a pledge to promote the building of affordable homes through changes to planning and building regulations, to extending home ownership, to abolishing the Regional Assemblies and enhancing the role of local communities in regeneration policies.

  • 27  Crisp, R., MacMillan, R., Robinson, D., Wells, P., 2009, p. 63.
  • 28  Policy Exchange, 2005, p. 9.
  • 29  Crisp, MacMillan, Robinson, Wells, 2009, op.cit., p. 63
  • 30  Policy Exchange, 2006, p. 49-50.

11While in opposition, the Tories devoted a lot of time and attention to housing issues: they discussed council housing reform with a number of key housing figures including the head of the National Housing Federation and the Chartered Institute of Housing. They also increasingly relied on the analysis of the housing situation by the Policy Exchange, a think tank closely allied to the party, in order to devise ways of increasing housing supply again27. In a series of reports in 2005 and 2006, the think tank had developed the argument that the planning system inherited from the post-war years needed reforming as it had led to high house prices and a volatile market28. The changes introduced under Labour had proved an obstacle to house building and explained the growing gap between supply and demand since 1997. It argued that “Britain's Soviet-style planning system means that we live in some of the smallest, oldest and costliest homes in the developed world”29. Instead, it suggested introducing a presumption in favour of development, devolving responsibility to local authorities and creating financial incentives for local authorities to build more homes30.

12That three out of six policy review groups devoted many pages to housing in their report is illustrative of the importance given by the leadership of the party to the issue; it also provides evidence that for the Conservatives, housing held the key to several social and economic problems. Unsurprisingly, the conclusions of the three policy groups reflected the views of the Policy Exchange but their recommendations went far beyond the mere issue of housing supply. Together, they looked at housing from economic, social and planning perspectives.

  • 31  High interest rates, inflexible labour market, declining quality of life, see Economic Competitive (...)
  • 32  Regional Assemblies, Regional Housing Board and regional housing targets, Ibid., p. 60.

13One first report - Freeing Britain - by the group on Economic competitiveness concluded that high house prices entailed negative economic and social consequences31 (a view not dissimilar to Barker's) as it established a causal link between low business creation and high house prices. The report came out in favour of deregulation, so as to foster growth in Britain and more specifically reduce the price of housing. Consequently, it recommended abolishing the regional structures put in place under Labour and deregulating the voluntary housing sector32. Like The Policy Exchange, it came to the conclusion that the answer to inadequate housing supply lay in a simplification of the planning system.

  • 33  Public Services Improvement Policy Group, 2007, p. 122-128.

14Restoring Pride in Our Public Services, the report of the public services improvement policy group, focused on another aspect of the housing sector: social housing. It criticized the state of social housing in the United Kingdom, claiming that social tenants were trapped in a cycle of deprivation and argued that the tenure needed to be viewed as a stepping stone towards home-ownership only, the first stage in the cycle of life33. The solution laid according to the authors of the report in a better management of the existing stock which entailed the sale of social housing to create mixed communities, allocating social housing on different criteria and more autonomy for councils. It also recommended a change in the way housing benefit was calculated and a wider use of shared ownership schemes.

  • 34  Social Justice Policy Group, 2006, p. 34.
  • 35  Social Justice Policy Group, 2007, p. 11.

15Some of their conclusions were echoed by the third policy group that focused on the housing sector. The review group on Family Breakdown published two reports (Breakdown Britain in December 2006 and Breakthrough Britain July 2007) which put forward the idea of a broken society. In Breakdown Britain, it provided a diagnosis of British society and warned that family breakdown put added pressure on the housing stock and led to a less efficient use of the housing stock34. The report underlined the links between poor housing and social exclusion too. In Breakthrough Britain, the authors made recommendations to end social exclusion: the solutions envisaged were centered on priming homeownership within the social housing sector by offering shared equity schemes, reforming the housing benefit system and making secured tenancy more flexible35.

  • 36  The Conservative party, 2009, p. 42.
  • 37 Including a new scheme offering social tenants with a record of five years’ good behaviour a 10% eq (...)
  • 38  The Conservative Party, 2010a, p. 3.

16The outcome of these various policy reviews and recommendations was Strong Foundations: Building Homes and Communities and Open Source Planning, two in a series of so-called Green Papers designed to set out Conservative thinking and policies before the general election. The former36 confirmed the party’s intention to abolish the regional planning system and targets inherited from Labour and to encourage local authorities to build by providing financial rewards; it also announced the creation of new Local Housing Trusts empowered to develop homes with the backing of the local community and of various schemes to help social tenants take a step towards home ownership37. Homelessness was to be another government priority. The latter38 described the changes the party intended to bring to the planning system if it were elected, in order to abolish the regional structures created by Labour, give local communities more power over planning decisions and establish a presumption in favour of sustainable development.

  • 39  The Conservative Party, 2010b, p. 73-76.

17Although David Cameron had said the policy groups reports would not constrain Conservative thinking, most of their recommendations found their way into the 2010 Conservative Manifesto39. The document strongly underlined the concept of localism in relation to housing: housing policies would have to involve the local community more and could not go against the local community's wishes. The manifesto read: “We will put neighbourhoods in charge of planning the way their communities develop with incentives in favour of sustainable development”. Furthermore, like most of its Conservative predecessors, the party under David Cameron promised to make it easier for everyone to access homeownership. Finally, a pledge was made to deliver more affordable homes. Contrary to Labour in the 1997 General Election, the manifesto demonstrated the Conservatives’ awareness of the need to increase housing supply.

  • 40  The party took up the slogan of the previous Labour and Conservative governments since the 1970s ( (...)
  • 41  The Coalition, 2010, p. 11.

18The Coalition programme, Our Programme for Government, drew mostly on the Conservative proposals, since the Liberal Democrats' manifesto had been thin on planning and housing40. It reiterated the Conservative promises to introduce a fundamental shift of power from Westminster to people by giving new powers to local government, communities and neighbourhoods41. It repeated their determination, set out in the planning green paper, to abolish the Regional Spatial Strategies, abolish the Infrastructure Planning Commission, reform the planning system to give local communities more power over local planning issues, and introduce a new national planning framework based on a presumption in favour of sustainable development.

  • 42  The Conservative party, 2010a, p. 3
  • 43  DCLG, 2011a.

19Unlike its Labour predecessors in 1997 (housing was not high in Labour's priorities), the Conservatives came to power with some sort of housing policy, having recognized that “few policy areas are as central to our lives as housing”42. Since May 2010, the Coalition government has officially set itself four broad objectives: to increase the number of houses available to buy and rent; to improve the flexibility of social housing and promote home ownership; to protect the vulnerable and disadvantaged by tackling homelessness and to make sure that homes are of high quality43. These objectives are not dissimilar to those Labour gradually set itself between 1997 and 2010, but the means chosen to achieve these often are.

Increasing housing supply

  • 44  ODPM, 2003a.
  • 45  “In addressing the public deficit the Government is intent on creating the economic conditions nec (...)
  • 46  The Conservative Party, 2009, p. 16.  
  • 47  The Conservative Party, 2010a, p. 3.

20Increasing housing supply has been an official government objective since 200344, after almost 30 years of neglect. However, unlike New Labour who had come to regard it as crucial for economic and demographic reasons, the Coalition - in line with traditional conservative thinking - also considers it to be paramount for ideological reasons, namely to foster responsibility. This is made explicit in a number of official documents and statements that all stress the social and individual benefits of a higher supply45. As a result, the coalition government has initiated a series of measures designed to reform the planning system which it considers to be an obstacle to building. These are in line with the Conservatives’ belief-expressed well before the election-that “housing and planning are inextricably linked”46 and that the housing targets set and the governance created by Labour have induced hostility on the part of local communities and their opposition to development47.

  • 48  The decision was ruled unlawful by the High Court in November 2010.

21As early as July 2010, Eric Pickles, the Conservative Communities Secretary, wrote a letter to planning authorities explaining that the Regional Spatial Strategies established by Labour in 2004 would no longer be needed and so with them regional house building targets48. The key measure came in the form of the Localism Act that started its progress through Parliament in December 2010 and received Royal Assent on 15 November 2011. The act affects the planning system in three ways:

  • By giving local government new powers: it transfers the housing investment power of the Homes and Communities Agency and the economic regeneration power of the London Development Agency created by Labour to the London Mayor. It allows local authorities greater freedom in setting the rate that developers must pay to the community in exchange of planning permission.

    • 49  DCLG, 2011c, p. 9

    By giving communities new powers: The bill gives “voluntary and community groups, parish groups and local employees the right to challenge the local authority and express an interest in taking over the running of a local authority service”49; it gives them, too, the right to buy assets listed by the community as crucial when they come up for sale or change ownership; they can also call a referendum on local issues, such as the new neighbourhood plans (see below).

  • By reforming the planning system to give members of the public a greater say: It confirms the abolition of RSS and housing targets and gives the power to communities (parish councils, neighbourhood forums, community groups) to draw up a neighbourhood plans (saying where new development should go) that will become statutory if approved by a local referendum; it also introduces a right to build for communities, so they can take forward new local developments without the need to go through the normal application process, if consistent with neighbourhood plans and approved by a local referendum; it introduces a requirement for developers to consult local communities before submitting applications for very large developments.

  • 50  “Planning has become the preserve of lawyers, town hall officials and pressure groups; this govern (...)

22The reform chimes with the Prime Minister's intention to foster a Big Society, to deliver a “radical shift in the balance of power” (CLG, 2011) and to undo what is said to be Labour’s Big State. This motivation underlies the declaration of ministers who have repeatedly stressed the need to simplify the planning system so as to make it easier for local people to engage50; giving communities more decision power and enabling them to participate, they say, can only induce them to welcome local development.

  • 51  DCLG, 2011d.
  • 52  Greg Clarke, the Planning Minister in The Guardian, 25/07/2011.
  • 53  DCLG, 2011d, p. 3.
  • 54  Defined as “building a strong economy, economic prosperity, promoting strong communities and prote (...)
  • 55  DCLG, 2011d, op.cit.

23In parallel, the coalition government has initiated a consultation process to reform not just the planning process, but the national planning guidelines that all local plans have to align with. The result is the Draft National Planning Policy Framework published in July 201151 that the government says will make planning easier to understand52. The document summarizes a thousand pages of planning guidelines into 52 pages, on the basis of the three objectives assigned to the planning system (economic, social and environmental)53. It sets out the coalition governments' requirements for the planning system that current local plans and future neighbourhoods plans have to follow. At the heart of the planning framework is a new presumption in favour of sustainable development54. This means that local authorities should “approve all individual proposals where possible” when it accords with statutory plans unless “the adverse impacts of allowing development would significantly and demonstrably out-weigh the benefits”55 and so the presumption can be interpreted as an encouragement to development.

  • 56  HM Government, 2011a, p. 13.

24 The coalition government has not stopped at reforming the planning framework. In February 2011, new financial incentives were also introduced to entice local communities to build through a new Homes bonus. This new source of funding matches the additional council tax raised by a council for each new house for six years after the house was built and so will increase the resources of the councils that agree to new development. It is estimated to reach £1bn over the next few years56. Another powerful incentive is the Community Infrastructure Levy that requires developers to contribute to the cost of creating new infrastructures for new homes. The Coalition has also introduced measures to deliver more affordable homes and social homes (see below) and has tried to attract new private investment (mostly institutions) into the private rented sector so as to increase the stock. Bringing back some 730,000 empty homes into use is also part of the Coalition's housing plans. These homes will qualify for the new Home Bonus and for a £150 million fund created in December 2011 to bring them back in use.

  • 57  ODPM, 2001.
  • 58  “Planning must be about accommodating change not resisting it”, see ODPM, 2001, op.cit., §1.7. Dav (...)
  • 59  ODPM, 2005.
  • 60  DCLG, 2006.

25Although the intention to devolve statutory planning power to local communities is clearly new since, until 2011, groups of residents were only invited to express their views at a later stage, during the examination in public, a number of measures put forwards draw on previous Conservative and Labour policies. As early as 2001, the Labour party had indeed announced its intention to reform the planning system on the grounds that “a better, simpler, faster, more accessible system” was needed57. The arguments that were used to justify the raft of measures introduced during the second and third terms of the Labour party bear striking similarities with those of the Conservatives58. These statements had led to the passing of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 that reformed local plans, abolished structure plans and established Regional Planning Bodies in charge of working out a Regional Spatial Strategy. After the 2005 Planning for Housing Provision consultation paper59, the Labour government had concentrated its efforts on increasing land supply, which the Coalition is also doing (see below). This resulted in a new Planning Policy Statement in 200660 that introduced a Land Availability Assessment and the National Housing Planning Advice Unit (NHPAU) that was responsible for setting an affordable target for the country was created. Financial incentives were used, too, by Labour to induce local councils to build. In 2007, a Planning and Housing Delivery Grant was created to reward financially those local authorities that had set aside enough land to build for the next five years. The Conservative levy is not entirely new either. Indeed, it is simply a variation of the Community Infrastructure Levy introduced by Labour in 2010, but it differs from the Labour version as it gives each local planning authority the power to set its own tariff rates.

26Like their Labour predecessors after 2003, the coalition government, spurred by the Conservative pledges made in opposition, is concentrating its efforts on increasing the housing supply. But unlike their predecessors, who believed in controlling more tightly the planning powers of local authorities, the Coalition believe that localism, giving more freedom to local communities-along with financial rewards-will reduce local opposition and help secure more planning permissions.

Reforming social housing

  • 61  DCLG, 2011a.
  • 62  The Conservative Party, 2009, p. 19

27The second objective of the coalition government, as set out on the Department for Communities and Local Government website, is defined as “Improving the flexibility of social housing61. Once again, this is in line with the recommendations of the Conservative Public Services Improvement policy group and the pledges made in the Conservative Housing Green Paper. The Conservative Housing Green Paper had made it very clear that the party considered a reform of social housing to be necessary in order to encourage some tenants to free social homes and to move on to home ownership62. Social housing, it argued, should only be considered as “a stepping stone to owner occupancy”, a temporary tenure.

  • 63  HM Government, 2011a, p. 3.
  • 64 Ibid, p. 22.
  • 65 The Guardian, 23.06.2010.
  • 66  The Guardian, 25.10.2010.

28Since being elected, the coalition government has been busy exploring ways of reforming the social housing sector, which it regards as stilted up and not well used63. In the opinion of the Housing and Communities ministers, households who are capable of meeting their own needs should not stay in the social sector64. Very swiftly, the Coalition announced its intention to come to grips with a very sensitive issue - Housing Benefit - on the ground that the cost of Housing Benefit had ballooned from £11 bn in 1998 to £21 bn in 2010. The dispute that was to follow with social housing providers was kindled by the declarations of some ministers, George Osborne, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, going as far as to declare that some families were receiving “£104,000 a year in housing benefit”65; as for the Liberal Democrat Communities Minister, Andrew Stunnel, he claimed that 400,000 households in social housing were living in oversized flats66. As a result, in June 2010, in its emergency budget, the government announced that a Welfare Reform Bill would soon be introduced in Parliament to reform the Housing Benefit system: Housing Benefit in social housing was to be capped to £400 a week by April 2011, the lower shared-room rate of housing benefit was to be extended to anyone under the age of 35, housing payments were to be cut for anyone deemed to be under occupying their homes, local housing allowance rates in the private sector were to be set at the bottom 30% rents in an area (delayed for nine months) and the Housing Benefit of the long term unemployed was to be reduced by 10% (dropped in February 2011). These announcements were made official by the 2011 Universal Credit White paper (DWP, 2011: 19).

  • 67  HM Government, 2011a, p. 50.
  • 68  Ibid, p. 51.
  • 69  The Independent, 29/10/2010.
  • 70 The Guardian, 24.06.2010.
  • 71 The Guardian, 8.8.2010.
  • 72  A letter was sent by the Office of Eric Pickles, the Communities secretary, to David Cameron warni (...)

29The move, that was designed to slash the housing benefit bill by £2 bn before 2012/15 and officially to bring rents down67, immediately triggered a major polemic inside and outside the party. While the government claims that it will help lift 350,000 children and 550, 000 adults out of poverty68, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London denounced the future reform as “Kosovo style social cleansing”69 and housing charities (Crisis and Shelter) along with the National Housing Federation warned about homelessness rising as a result of the expulsion of those tenants unable to meet the cost of their rents. They pointed to the expected flight of deprived households out of London and increased social segregation, too70. The announcement also exposed a rift in the government between Liberal Democrat MPs and Coalition ministers71 as well as between the Housing Department and the Benefits Department72.

  • 73  HM Government, 2011, op.cit., p. 24. As a result, the HRA is to be reformed, too. Under the new sy (...)
  • 74  “to encourage landlords and tenants to consider what is the most appropriate housing at the differ (...)
  • 75 Ibid., p. 29.

30Two other points have proved highly polemical. Following the Comprehensive Spending Review in October 2010, the Coalition announced its intention to deregulate the rents of new social tenancies. The so-called “affordable rent” scheme will enable social landlords to raise their rents up to 80% of market levels for new tenants. In a difficult economic environment, this deregulation is said by the government to be the only means of providing the financial resource to build 170, 000 new social housing units by 201573. The Coalition has also embarked on a reform of social tenancies. Both measures, enacted in the Localism Act 2011, flow from the conclusions of the Conservative Policy review groups. Indeed, their reports had concluded that the social housing shortage was the result not so much of a decline in house building, as of low tenant turn-over. The Localism Act gives local authorities the right to offer flexible or fixed-term tenancies to new tenants as well as more leeway to choose the categories of the population qualifying to go on the council’s waiting list. These measures are officially designed to encourage social tenants to review their situation and move to a different tenure (or be made to move) so as to free social homes74. This thinking is also behind the government’s intention to give councils the power to charge a top-up rent (pay to stay rent) for those high earning tenants living in council homes (estimated at 6,000 households)75.

  • 76  The policy was designed to make rents fairer; to make local social rents for similar properties co (...)
  • 77 Ibid., p. 175.
  • 78  Any social tenant who had engaged in anti-social behaviour risked having its secure tenancy demote (...)
  • 79  According to a research by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research, see The Guardia (...)

31Although highly polemical, not all the measures designed to reform the social housing sector do break with past Labour initiatives. Labour had indeed embarked on rent restructuring in the social sector in 200076 and had announced its intention to reform Housing Benefit in 2002. Nine pathfinders for the private rented sector were chosen in a first stage and the project was to be rolled out across the country and in the social sector in a second stage when it lost power. The idea was to minimize the disincentive to work and to influence the claimant’s choice of housing by responding to price signal77. As for the selection of tenants and the introduction of a fixed term tenancy, although Labour did not explore this issue, it had put an end to the principle of secure life-long tenancies in the social sector through the 2003 Anti-Social Behaviour Act78. However, the one measure that represents a radical change in the social housing sector is the decision to deregulate and raise new social rents. Although the social sector has been forced to rely on other sources of funding than state subsidies since 1988, it will have to rely mostly on a rents inflow to build new homes. This marks a new step in the reform of social housing, a sector that relied solely on state subsidies between the 1919 Housing Act and the 1988 Housing Act. Unsurprisingly, these measures have been attacked by the voluntary sector that commissioned studies showing they would make social rents unaffordable for many families on housing benefit79.

  • 80  BBC, 27.09.2011.

32 Interestingly, some of these reforms have already found their way into mainstream politics and have been adopted by Labour, thus showing the degree of consensus that exists on housing between the two parties today. At the last Labour annual conference in October 2011, Ed Milliband, the Labour leader addressed the issue of the allocation of social homes and came out for greater autonomy for councils. Referring to the examples of Manchester and Newham City councils, he declared himself favourable to rewarding those applicants who make a contribution to the local community by pushing them up the council waiting list and giving them extra points80.

  • 81  Also through a Home Swap Direct programme. It is designed to enable social tenants to search for a (...)

33The Coalition reforms of the social housing sector, although they build on some of the Labour measures introduced between 1997 and 2010, are far more radical. They are designed to increase mobility in the sector81 and to encourage tenants to move on to home ownership. Clearly, to the Coalition government, social housing should be a last resort tenure, more selective and less attractive. This is a belief the Conservatives have held for decades.

Widening Home ownership

  • 82  Grant Shapps declared “the age of aspiration is back[…] most people still want to own their own ho (...)

34Home ownership is the be all and end all of the Coalition's housing policies, which a speech by Conservative Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, in June 2010 had already made clear82. The announcement of a package of measures in favour of housing on 21 November 2011 confirmed that the government's intention was to prime a new growth in the number of home owners. The document, published in the wake of the Prime Minister’s statement, reads:

  • 83  HM Government, 2011a.

“Second, these plans are designed to spread opportunity in our society. For too long, millions have been locked out of home ownership. We want to build an economy that works for everyone, one in which people who work hard and play by the rules can expect to own a decent home of their own”83.

35However, for home ownership to grow, there need to be more homes built as well as fewer tenants in the social sector, hence the previous measures described above.

  • 84 The Guardian, 2.10. 2011.

36Since coming to power, the coalition government has sought to encourage home ownership, despite the economic recession. Although the policy group on Breakdown Britain had recommended extending shared equity schemes to social tenants as early as 2006, it took the 2011 Conservative conference for the coalition government to make concrete proposals. On that occasion, David Cameron promised to help more British people access home ownership and outlined a package of measures designed to boost demand for homeownership and the building industry. It was announced, among other things, that the government was contemplating releasing government land and increasing the discount available to council housing tenants84.

  • 85  HM Government, 2011a.
  • 86  HM Government, 2011a, p. 8.

37 These proposals were confirmed on 21 November 2011 when the coalition government announced a package of measures for housing that, unsurprisingly, chime with the Conservative party statements85. To kick-start demand, the government is concentrating its efforts on first time buyers or buyers without large deposits, a category of the population increasingly excluded from the housing market since the late 1990s. As a consequence, it is introducing a new scheme: The First Buy equity loan scheme, will provide some 10,500 first time buyers with the help of an equity loan of up to 20%. In parallel, it is backing a second scheme, New Build Indemnity Scheme, led by the Home Builders Federation and Council of Mortgage Lenders whereby prospective home buyers will only have to bring 5% of the price of a new build home. 100,000 new homes are expected to be built this way86.

  • 87  As Neville Chamberlain explained when introducing the 1923 Housing Act, see Hansard, vol. 163, col (...)
  • 88  “We must make it easier for British people to obtain the tenure they want. More and more people wo (...)
  • 89  The Labour Party, 2001, p. 14. In 2005 Labour vowed to raise the proportion of home owners to 75%.
  • 90  Programmes such as Starter Homes Initiative, Key Workers Living, First Time Buyers Initiative.
  • 91  Through the Social Homebuy programme that allowed social tenants to buy their home outright or on (...)

38Extending home ownership is in line not just with Conservative traditional thinking but with Labour policies after 1997, though. Indeed, while home ownership has been at the heart of Conservative housing policies at least since the 1920s87, Labour itself, in 197788, came to accept that home ownership was the preferred tenure of British people. After being elected in 1997, the party made his the Conservatives' promise to raise the number of homeowners89. Under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, various measures were taken to widen access to home ownership to first time buyers defined as key workers90 as well as to social housing tenants91 by enabling them to buy a share (or equity) in their home. However, the flagship Conservative policy of giving social tenants the right to buy their home was restricted in 2003 by capping the discount offered to tenants in areas of housing shortage.

  • 92  HM Government, 2011a, p. 9.

39 Without the right amount of land not enough homes can be built. Therefore, the government has announced that four departments would release the land they own so as to make it possible to build between 60,000 and 100,000 extra homes92. Once more, the initiative shows strong continuities with previous Labour measures. Under Tony Blair, the Labour government had created a Register of Surplus Public Sector Land and under Gordon Brown in 2009, a Public Land Initiative had been launched. Both aimed at identifying public land that could be used to build more homes. One Labour measure is due to be reversed, though: the Right to Buy discounts are to be restored so as to encourage more social tenants to become home owners. However, contrary to previous Conservative governments who were happy to see the social stock decrease, the Coalition has pledged to replace every home sold by an affordable one for rent.

40 So despite the economic recession that has seen thousands of households falling into arrears and their homes repossessed, the coalition government has made increasing home ownership one of its priorities. This policy is no different from the choice made by the Labour Party when in power after 1997 and relies on a number of measures building on Labour initiatives. More generally, it illustrates the consensus that has prevailed since the 1970s between all parties on the merits of home ownership and the desirability of extending it even to low-earning households. Home ownership is still seen as an investment and a bulwark against the vagaries of life as well as a means of guaranteeing social integration.

Homelessness and Quality Homes

41 Continuity also characterizes the last two areas of intervention of the Coalition Government: Homelessness and housing standards.

  • 93  DCLG, 2010b.
  • 94  It is designed to help vulnerable people live independently by providing support for older people, (...)
  • 95  HM Government, 2011a, p. 45.
  • 96  ODPM, 2003b.
  • 97  HM Government, 2011b, p. 4.
  • 98  Housing (Homeless Persons) Act 1977.
  • 99  HM Government, 2011a, p. 46.

42Minor changes, indeed, have been made by the government to its predecessors’ policies, in order to “protect the vulnerable and disadvantaged by tackling homelessness” (CLG, 2011a). The rough sleeping count method has been slightly altered by expanding the definition of a rough sleeper and making street counts discretionary93. Like the Labour government before 2010, the Coalition is concentrating its efforts mostly on preventing homelessness happening. Supporting People, the national programme introduced by Labour in 200394, has been largely spared cuts with £6.5 bn made available over the spending review period95. To address the problem of those who are already homeless, eight ministers were brought together through the Ministerial Group on Homelessness to find solutions. Their report, Vision to end Rough Sleeping, was published in July 2011 and committed the government to getting people off the streets, ensuring them access to healthcare, helping them into work and reducing what it called bureaucracy. Like their predecessors96, the ministers stressed that rough sleeping was not only the result of a housing shortage, but of a combination of factors97. Tellingly, the Coalition has praised the legislation passed by Labour in 197798 and extended in 2002 by the Homelessness Act that places a duty on local authorities to provide accommodation for certain priority needs groups99. Various schemes introduced by the previous government to prevent repossession such as the Mortgage Rescue Schemes created in 2009 have been kept.

43As a consequence, it can be argued that the Coalition is taking its cue from its Labour predecessors when dealing with homelessness. Its policies are no different to Labour's initial policies when coming to power. Indeed, reducing homelessness, along with the renovation of the social housing stock, was a Labour government priority in 1997. This led to the Homelessness Act 2002 that widened the definition of the categories of the population to whom local authorities owed a home by law, to the Supporting People programme mentioned above and to the creation of a Rough Sleeping Unit that was made responsible for piloting the Homelessness Action Programme. Labour itself had inherited this priority from the Conservative Major government that had set up the Rough Sleeping Initiative in 1990.

  • 100 The Guardian, 15.7.2011.
  • 101  Centre for Housing Policies, 2011.

44Despite the Coalition’s statements that homelessness programmes were safe, the government has been much criticized. Although the Supporting People programme has been spared by the government, cuts in local government spending and the government's decision to remove ring fencing in local government finance have meant that the programme has been raided by local authorities to make up for loss of income. This is said to have caused damage to the voluntary sector's capacity to help vulnerable people live independently, as day centres have had to close and along with supported housing for young people, services dedicated to keeping vulnerable people in accommodation have been scaled down and staff threatened with redundancies100. Likewise, the Homeless Charity Crisis has underlined contradictions in the Coalition’s measures, warning that the Housing Benefit reform is likely to force some disabled young people out of their flats and possibly onto the streets as a result of the extension of the one room Housing Benefit to the 25-34 year olds, which only applied to the under-25s until 2011101.

  • 102  The Conservative Party, 2010b, p. 41 and The Liberal Democrats, 2010, p. 76.
  • 103  HM Government, 2011a, p. 56.
  • 104 Ibid., p. 55.
  • 105  DCLG, 2011d, p. 33 and DCLG, 2011c, p. 12.
  • 106  Royal Institute of British Architects, Royal Town Planning Institute, Royal Institute of Chartered (...)
  • 107  HM Government, 2011a, p. 59.

45In line with the Conservative and Lib Dem manifestos102, the Coalition has pledged to improve housing standards, both from design and environmental perspectives, pointing to the failure of his Labour predecessors to do so103. Giving communities more power in the planning process over the design of new homes is seen as a means of reducing the risks of opposition to new development and creating more sustainable neighbourhoods104. The objective is enshrined in the Localism Act 2011 and the new National Planning Framework mentioned above. Together, they give communities the right to specify in neighbourhood plans the standards expected locally and require developers to involve residents at the pre-application stage of large schemes105. At a national level, the Coalition government is consulting with various institutions106 on how best to influence design locally. Finally, the government is committed to the Zero Carbon Homes target as of 2016, which will require a change in building regulations, materials and process107.

  • 108  Social Exclusion Unit, 2001, §4.63.

46This latest initiative builds on a voluntary code of conduct introduced by the Labour Party in 2007 and, once again, is illustrative of the high degree of continuity between Labour and Coalition housing policies. Indeed, improving standards was a key Labour priority, although in the social sector mostly. Labour was, indeed, elected in 1997 on a commitment to renovate the social housing stock which meant among other things improving insulation in order to bring the whole social stock up to a new decent homes standard by 2010108. Likewise, it was Labour that introduced Housing Design Awards in 1997 in order to improve the design of new development and Labour again that had created CABE in 1999, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, in order to advise the government. So the homelessness and housing standards measures of the Coalition do no break with Labour policies at all.

Conclusion

  • 109  HM Government, 2011a, p. 45.
  • 110  Crisp, Macmillan, Robinson and Wells, op.cit.

47In many respects, the measures announced and implemented by the Coalition since May 2010 appear to be a development of housing reforms under Labour. The coming to power of a coalition government has not ushered in the Tory revolution promised by the Conservatives in housing. Previous Labour objectives such as improving the housing supply, building more affordable homes, reforming the planning process or fighting against homelessness and improving housing standards have simply been carried over. The Coalition housing policies also display great continuity with previous Conservative policies as the stress on home ownership and the reform of the social sector illustrate. The aims of the Coalition government in housing (choice, opportunity and stability)109 are remarkably similar to those of its Labour predecessors and reveal a high degree of continuity that had been anticipated by some researchers as early as 2009110. Divisions remain though in the diagnosis made by the Coalition of some housing issues and remedies: the reform of the social housing sector is motivated by the desire to reduce dependency and the reform of the planning process by the hope it will defeat local opposition to new development. Only in these two areas can it be said that the Coalition government is breaking new ground and moving away from its Labour legacy.

  • 111  A report by BNP Paribas warned in June 2011 that 12% of local authorities would be cutting their t (...)
  • 112  Inside Housing, 18.10.2011.

48Whether these measures will prove more successful than their Labour counterparts remains to be seen. There appear to be contradictions and conflicting aims in the policies implemented by the government. For instance, devolving power to communities could prove to be a dangerous gamble if these new powers are used not to increase the housing supply but to curtail it even more. There is already evidence that the abolition of RSS and housing targets has led to many local authorities cutting their targets111. So far progress has failed to materialize and the housing situation of the United Kingdom remains critical. A report by CIH, NHF and Shelter in October 2011 gave the red light to housing supply, homelessness, help with housing costs and affordability in the private rented sector; Planning, homeownership and evictions are on amber; only empty homes and mobility are on green112. Clearly, no new deal appears to be in sight for millions of British people.

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Notes

1  Hugo Young Lecture, November 2009, see http://www.conservatives.com/news/speeches/2009/11/David_Cameron_The_Big_Society.aspx accessed 16/11/2011.

2  Put simply, the Big Society is a call to arms to every British citizen, a request for mass engagement in order to mend a supposedly broken society. Instead of so-called top-down state initiatives, there should be community activism, social entrepreneurship and greater volunteerism, see Lee, M. and Beech, M., 2011, p. 276.

3  Such as localism or decentralisation.

4 The Guardian, 5.10.2011.

5  New Labour, 1997, p. 25-27.

6  ODPM, 2003a, p. 5.

7  Barker, K., 2004, p. 19.

8  Rush, M., Giddings, P., 2008, p. 158.

9  Department of Communities and Local Government, 2007, p. 7.

10  Under the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008.

11  DCLG, 2011f.

12  DCLG, 2010a.

13  DCLG, 2009b, p. 8.

14  DCLG, 2011f.  

15  Department of Environment, 1995,

16  DCLG, 2009a, p. 2.

17  ONS, 2009.

18  Public Services Improvement Policy Group, 2007, p. 122.

19  DCLG, 20011e, p. 47.

20  Oxford Economics, 2011, p. 15.

21  Shelter, 2011b, p. 3.

22  Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2008, p. 16

23  Public Services Improvement Policy Group, 2007, p. 122.

24  Dorey, P., and Garnett, M., 2011.

25  The remits of the other five were Public Service Improvement, Quality of Life, Social Justice, National and International Security and Globalisation and Global Poverty.

26  “Top-down government seems to belong to another age. Monolithic, unreformed public services do not provide the personalised response people expect”, see The Conservative Party, 2006, p. 2.

27  Crisp, R., MacMillan, R., Robinson, D., Wells, P., 2009, p. 63.

28  Policy Exchange, 2005, p. 9.

29  Crisp, MacMillan, Robinson, Wells, 2009, op.cit., p. 63

30  Policy Exchange, 2006, p. 49-50.

31  High interest rates, inflexible labour market, declining quality of life, see Economic Competitiveness Group, 2007, p. 75.

32  Regional Assemblies, Regional Housing Board and regional housing targets, Ibid., p. 60.

33  Public Services Improvement Policy Group, 2007, p. 122-128.

34  Social Justice Policy Group, 2006, p. 34.

35  Social Justice Policy Group, 2007, p. 11.

36  The Conservative party, 2009, p. 42.

37 Including a new scheme offering social tenants with a record of five years’ good behaviour a 10% equity share in their home.  

38  The Conservative Party, 2010a, p. 3.

39  The Conservative Party, 2010b, p. 73-76.

40  The party took up the slogan of the previous Labour and Conservative governments since the 1970s (“the right to a decent home”) which meant bringing more empty homes on the market, insulating more homes and allowing councils to build new homes. References to the planning system were few and far between but similar to those of the Conservatives. They, too, promised to abolish the Infrastructure Planning Commission that Labour had set up in 2008, as well as housing targets, see The Liberal Democrats, 2010, p. 76-80.

41  The Coalition, 2010, p. 11.

42  The Conservative party, 2010a, p. 3

43  DCLG, 2011a.

44  ODPM, 2003a.

45  “In addressing the public deficit the Government is intent on creating the economic conditions necessary to allow more individual to take responsibility for meeting their own and their families' needs whether they wish to buy or rent” see DCGL, 2011a.

46  The Conservative Party, 2009, p. 16.  

47  The Conservative Party, 2010a, p. 3.

48  The decision was ruled unlawful by the High Court in November 2010.

49  DCLG, 2011c, p. 9

50  “Planning has become the preserve of lawyers, town hall officials and pressure groups; this government is determined to have a system that truly represents and serves the interest of local communities” Bob Neil, Minister for Planning, The Guardian, 28/07/2011.

51  DCLG, 2011d.

52  Greg Clarke, the Planning Minister in The Guardian, 25/07/2011.

53  DCLG, 2011d, p. 3.

54  Defined as “building a strong economy, economic prosperity, promoting strong communities and protecting the environment”, DCLG, 2011d, p. 3-4.

55  DCLG, 2011d, op.cit.

56  HM Government, 2011a, p. 13.

57  ODPM, 2001.

58  “Planning must be about accommodating change not resisting it”, see ODPM, 2001, op.cit., §1.7. David Cameron declared at Prime Minister's Question Time that “what we need to happen is sensible, sustainable development”, see Inside  Housing, 16.09.2011.

59  ODPM, 2005.

60  DCLG, 2006.

61  DCLG, 2011a.

62  The Conservative Party, 2009, p. 19

63  HM Government, 2011a, p. 3.

64 Ibid, p. 22.

65 The Guardian, 23.06.2010.

66  The Guardian, 25.10.2010.

67  HM Government, 2011a, p. 50.

68  Ibid, p. 51.

69  The Independent, 29/10/2010.

70 The Guardian, 24.06.2010.

71 The Guardian, 8.8.2010.

72  A letter was sent by the Office of Eric Pickles, the Communities secretary, to David Cameron warning about the housing consequences of such cuts. The reforms could make 40,000 families homeless the letter said, see The Guardian, 2.7.2011.

73  HM Government, 2011, op.cit., p. 24. As a result, the HRA is to be reformed, too. Under the new system, councils will be able to keep the income from their rents to reinvest locally. The measure is to come into effect in April 2012.

74  “to encourage landlords and tenants to consider what is the most appropriate housing at the different life stage of tenants and their households”, Ibid., p. 23.

75 Ibid., p. 29.

76  The policy was designed to make rents fairer; to make local social rents for similar properties converge; to encourage better management and to provide a closer link between qualities and rents, see Mullins, D. and Murie, A., 2006, p. 168.

77 Ibid., p. 175.

78  Any social tenant who had engaged in anti-social behaviour risked having its secure tenancy demoted to a less secure one and introductory tenancies were extended by a further six months, see Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 et Housing Act 2004.

79  According to a research by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research, see The Guardian, 21.08.2011.

80  BBC, 27.09.2011.

81  Also through a Home Swap Direct programme. It is designed to enable social tenants to search for a free social home in the area where they have identified employment opportunities.

82  Grant Shapps declared “the age of aspiration is back[…] most people still want to own their own homes and  I want to know the government will support them in that”, see The Guardian, 8.6.2010.

83  HM Government, 2011a.

84 The Guardian, 2.10. 2011.

85  HM Government, 2011a.

86  HM Government, 2011a, p. 8.

87  As Neville Chamberlain explained when introducing the 1923 Housing Act, see Hansard, vol. 163, col. 308. “[…] the stimulation of the desire which I believe exists among large sections of the population to be able to own their own houses, by giving them facilities for obtaining capital”. See Also the 1924 Queen’s Speech.

88  “We must make it easier for British people to obtain the tenure they want. More and more people would like to become home owners”, DOE, 1977.

89  The Labour Party, 2001, p. 14. In 2005 Labour vowed to raise the proportion of home owners to 75%.

90  Programmes such as Starter Homes Initiative, Key Workers Living, First Time Buyers Initiative.

91  Through the Social Homebuy programme that allowed social tenants to buy their home outright or on a shared ownership basis and rent to buy which allows tenants to pay a reduced rent on their home to save for a deposit to buy the property.  

92  HM Government, 2011a, p. 9.

93  DCLG, 2010b.

94  It is designed to help vulnerable people live independently by providing support for older people, ex-offenders, drug users and is run by local government that channels money from a special Supporting People budget to voluntary sector schemes.

95  HM Government, 2011a, p. 45.

96  ODPM, 2003b.

97  HM Government, 2011b, p. 4.

98  Housing (Homeless Persons) Act 1977.

99  HM Government, 2011a, p. 46.

100 The Guardian, 15.7.2011.

101  Centre for Housing Policies, 2011.

102  The Conservative Party, 2010b, p. 41 and The Liberal Democrats, 2010, p. 76.

103  HM Government, 2011a, p. 56.

104 Ibid., p. 55.

105  DCLG, 2011d, p. 33 and DCLG, 2011c, p. 12.

106  Royal Institute of British Architects, Royal Town Planning Institute, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

107  HM Government, 2011a, p. 59.

108  Social Exclusion Unit, 2001, §4.63.

109  HM Government, 2011a, p. 45.

110  Crisp, Macmillan, Robinson and Wells, op.cit.

111  A report by BNP Paribas warned in June 2011 that 12% of local authorities would be cutting their targets. This will translate into 20.6% fewer homes than expected or 31,400 homes each year. The biggest cuts will be in the SE where an estimated 16,712 fewer homes a year will be built, see The Guardian, 24.06.2011.

112  Inside Housing, 18.10.2011.

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David Fée, « A Tory revolution? The British coalition government and housing », Observatoire de la société britannique [En ligne], 12 | 2012, mis en ligne le 01 août 2013, consulté le 01 novembre 2014. URL : http://osb.revues.org/1309 ; DOI : 10.4000/osb.1309

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