Home-ownership comes of age: the post-war decades (1945–79)

Stuart Lowe

in The Housing Debate

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9781847422736
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447305514 | DOI:
Home-ownership comes of age: the post-war decades (1945–79)

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A new, radical paradigm emerged from the experience of war, asserting the ideas of citizenship and new beginnings for society. Labour was elected with a landslide majority to deliver the Beveridge reforms and establish a ‘welfare state’. Post-war reconstruction was initially to be state led. Housing policy was in advance of this new approach because the foundations of the home-owning society had been laid in the inter-war era, but Nye Bevan initially insisted that council housing should lead the housing programme. The deficit of households to dwellings was in 1945 considerably worse than any stage in the twentieth century, and it took nearly three decades to put this right. Conservative governments failed to revive the private rented sector via the 1957 Rent Act and so continued to build council housing. Slum clearance and sales by private landlords to sitting tenants depleted the PRS. By the mid-1960s, as owner occupiers became a majority of the electorate, the Labour Party back-tracked on its image as the party of council housing, and the economic and political power of the forces of globalisation beckoned.

Keywords: paradigm; welfare consensus; Beveridgean welfare state; residualisation

Chapter.  8979 words. 

Subjects: Urban and Rural Studies

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