UK Housing Policy

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Housing policy should be at the centre of the political debate in the UK since housing is the most crucial form of infrastructure for human activity. Housing supply, affordability and quality affect both the efficient functioning of the economy and also the health, wellbeing and stability of the society. However since the days of Bevan in the 1940s or maybe Macmillan in the 1950s there has been no holistic approach to housing policy and a rapid turnover of, on the whole, mediocre and uncommitted housing ministers.

Too often the debate, and therefore the policy, is segmented, marginalised and under developed. Policy has been marked by ideological considerations (such as the obsession with home ownership) or short term knee-jerk crisis management. There has been no thought-out and explicit set of aims for housing policy and no medium or long-term strategy.

The results of these failures are all around us. These include among others massively increased costs to the tax payer via additional NHS costs periodic poorly regulated cycles in house prices and rents consequent destabilising effects on the land market consequent effects in producing financial crises as at the moment adverse effects on labour mobility, recruitment and retention in some areas a huge and costly increase in benefit dependency poor returns to educational investment since poorly housed children cannot reach their potential at school the stereotyping of millions living in poorly maintained social housing and the ultimate catastrophes of home repossession and street homelessness.

These effects arise from widespread and deeply embedded inefficiencies in housing policy and they have significant and sometimes devastating impacts on personal, social and economic life within our nation. This channel seeks to bring the housing debate to life by making a wide range of evidence-based material and discussion available to educational establishments, policy makers, journalists and housing professionals and practitioners.