Breaking with the Thatcherite consensus


Ken Loach: ““Martin Wicks has written a valuable account of a grassroots campaign from the inside, but the book is more than that. It deals comprehensively with questions that arise when discussing housing and makes a convincing case for our being able to find answers collectively and democratically. This is essential reading for campaigners.”

Ever since Labour abandoned their opposition to ‘right to buy’ there has been a consensus on housing which combines worship of home ownership with demonisation of Council housing and Council tenants. Whilst Labour has committed to ending the ‘bedroom tax’ it has yet to commit to funding a new programme of Council house building. Their support for ‘austerity-lite’ presents an obstacle to providing subsidy for Councils to build their own stock on any scale.

“What Future for Council Housing?” warns that Britain has reached a cross-roads where the loss of Council housing stock will increase unless there  is a break with this consensus and the abandonment of the worship of home ownership.

The book argues that without a new programme of Council house building then the housing crisis will drag on and the younger generation will be forced to carry on living with their parents or live in over-priced private rented accommodation. A Council house building programme would help to drag house prices and private rents down by cutting the imbalance between tenants and genuinely affordable homes.