The problem with social housing and government

22nd May 2019 / ThinkPublica

TruePublica Editor: For decades, social housing has been on the agenda – but soundbites is all Britain ever got from successive Prime Ministers. The excerpt below is a clear demonstration of what in many ways actually blights Britain – a continual failure of politicians to do what is right.


Lack of mobility and social segregation have been identified as a key social problem by successive Prime Ministers:

“We must do something about the inner cities. I don’t want there to be forgotten people any more. This means fighting against the burning injustice that if you were born poor, you will die on average nine years younger than the others. It means giving everyone in the country a chance, so no matter where you are from, you have the opportunity to make the most of your life.”


This is in fact one sentence from each of the speeches made by Margaret Thatcher (1987), Tony Blair (1997), David Cameron (2015) and Theresa May (2016) when they first entered office.

The other thing that recent Prime Ministers have had in common is that they have, in different ways, regarded social housing as a barrier to social mobility. It has taken the recent tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, in which 72 council tenants died, to force a reappraisal of the role of social housing, Sajid Javid, the then housing minister noting ‘we need to return to a time, not so very long ago, when social housing was valued…treasured’.


This is an excerpt from a piece published by LSE, written by Patrick Mulrenan who is course leader for the BSc Community Development and Leadership at London Metropolitan University.



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