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THE HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING POLICY

  • 7 Pages
  • Published On: 30-11-2023

The problem of homelessness has always been at the forefront of national legislation in the UK. This essay is going to discuss the development of the Hosing act in the UK and its evaluation with time. Here the essay will present a clear discussion on neoliberalism in relation to the housing by discussing the Housing Act. The essay will also discuss the Housing and planning act in 2016 by discussing the ideology of neoliberalism. The essay will also discuss the stigmatisation and realisation of social housing and tenants in relation to neoliberalism. Finally, the essay will draw a suitable conclusion in which it summarises the main points of the entire discussion.

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Neoliberalism can be defined as the political approach or policy model that favours the deregulation and free-market capitalisation by transferring the economic control from the public sector to the private sector (Bramley and Fitzpatrick, 2018). Although there are many debates regarding the practices and the features of the neoliberalism, this policy model is mainly based on the leisure-faire economy, which beliefs on the fewer government interferences into the market for promoting strong economic development of the companies. During late 1970, the neoliberalism ideology started to take crucial parts in influencing the housing policies. During this period, the implementation of the Housing policies such as the Housing Act 1980 under the state’s direction was failed to make any significant result in the housing sector. As mentioned by Steil and Charles (2020), neo-liberals were against the different government housing provision, which they thought were the main barriers in free-market capitalisation and free investments into the housing sector. Evidence suggests that neo-liberal agenda had developed the new thoughts in the housing sectors which said that excessive regulation of the state government can decrease the investment ion the housing sectors which automatically reduces the affordability of housing to the lower-income people due to monopoly distribution of the housing resources (Squires, 2017). During the early '80s, Housing Act 1980 has been developed in which the neoliberalism influence was apparent which emphasize on promoting the new demand in the chousing sector by inviting te private investors into the sector. As argued by Fraser (2017), although neo-liberals improve the financialization and market capitalisation in the housing sectors by liberalising the hosing policies, they only focused on the housing demand and profit-making rather than considering the other factor such as crowing of tenets, squatters and pavement dwelling. Apart from this criticism, the big achievement of the neoliberalism agenda on the housing policies was that the neoliberalism had developed the concept that housing is the not the areas of developing regulation based on the needs, but it is the areas of enhancing the homeownership thereby improving the market capitalisation.

During late 1980, after the establishment of the Housing act 1980, there was a sharp shift of the housing policies to adapt the neoliberal agenda, which influenced the policymakers to rethink about the importance of improving market capitalisation, investment, housing affordability to the lower incomes people and proper distribution of housing resources (Ahmed and Madoc-Jones, 2020). During 1980, the UK government introduced the Right to Buy policy (RTB), under which the tenants of public housings can but their houses at the highly discounted price. However, this urban renewal was made intentionally to increase the public privatisation of the housing resources thereby enhancing governmental revenue. There are many contradictory arguments regarding the development of the RTB policy. As argued by Dukelow and Kennett (2018), Modern theorist mention that although the establishment of RTB was useful in enhancing the privatisation and free-market capitalisation in the housing sectors, under this policy the tenants or leaseholders who purchased the public housing were subjected to the displacement pressure which causes the forceful displacement.

Evidence suggests that neoliberalism had increased the free-market capitalisation and privatisation of the housing property by transferring the housing power from the government to the private sectors companies, due to implementation of this neoliberalism ideology during 1980 there was sharp reduction in the number of housing societies in the England and Wales (Gunner et al. 2019). Evidence also suggests that in ancient UK, social housing played important roles in reducing homelessness and poverty by providing affordable housing to the poor people. As mentioned by Fraser (2017), through developing the Social Housing Policies UK government was intended to increase the number of social housing during the late 70s which was expected to not only provide the easy and affordable accommodation to poor people but also improve people’s health and living standard by creating new job opportunities. However, due to the introduction of neoliberalism viewpoint during the late 80s there was a tendency of increasing privatisation and ownership of the property thereby reducing the number of social housing, which created a severe shortage of easy and affordable accommodation for the poor people. Although there are many debates regarding this context Steil and Charles (2020) mentioned that, the reduction of the social housing in the England and Wales due to implementation of neoliberalism views into practice, the issue of homelessness had been increasing day by day as the number of social housing was lower as compared to the ever-increasing of poor homeless people. On the other hand, during early 1990, neoliberalism ideology pushed people more towards the private housing sector which was relatively costly than the social housing. In this context Squires (2017) mentioned that, during neoliberalism period, there was only few people with sufficient economic capability who could avail the private houses. On the other hand, the tendency toward the privatisation and ownership reduced the number of affordable housing for the poor people in the England and Wales thereby creating severe homelessness and poverty.

Introduction of the Building Societies Act 1986 had shown the influence of neoliberalism ideology which made severe changes in the Housing act. Through the establishment of this act, certain restrictions were removed in providing housing-related services to the people. Here the policy market had shown a shift toward the neoliberal viewpoint by providing the building societies of UK government freedom to provide rages of services like private banks such as giving unsecured loans, providing the stockbroking service, exchanging currencies and offering cheques and accounts to the tenants. As mentioned by Ahmed and Madoc-Jones (2020), here the housing societies were more inclined to adopt the neoliberal viewpoint to invite the stakeholders and private investors to invest freely into the housing building to increasing the market capitalisation.

The influence of the neoliberalism agenda was seen in the White Paper 1988, in which policymakers shifted towards improving the quality and quality of the privately rented house, which improved the quality of living of the tenants (Gunner et al. 2019). The White paper also gave the right to the council tenants to transfer to other landlords where they can get the extra housing benefits. On the other hand, this paper highlights the special emphasis on promoting the ownership of property thereby enhancing the market capitalisation, which was the major viewpoint of neoliberalism.

During the early 90s, the influence of neoliberalism ideology in the housing policies led to the cutting investment of new housing council to reduce the governmental influences as well as promote the high involvement of private housing agencies. As mentioned by Queen et al (2017), during the mid-90’s policy there was the apparent influence of the neoliberalism ideology on the policymakers as they were interested to enhance the investment into the private housing sectors in terms of enhancing the national revenue rather than investing into the public housing council.

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As the times passes there were changes in the housing policies in the UK with more inclination of the neoliberalism agendas which mainly promote the free-market capitalisation and public privatisation of the housing societies thereby increasing the national income (Squires, 2017). Through the development of Housing and Planning Act 2016, there was an apparent adoption of the neoliberalism agenda that enabled the policymakers to provide more freedom to the private and public housing societies and private real estate agencies to conduct free market agreement. Thich act allows the housing societies to sale the high-value local authority home to private agents at a high amount and promotes the ownership of the property to boost the quality and quantity of housing building through the private investment. This act also strengthens the RTB policy by reforming it which encourage the leaseholders to buy the property in return of having a good amount of money.

From the overall discussion, it can be stated that, during the early 70s, neoliberalism concept had been developed in the UK which had its potential impact in the housing sectors. This concept was based on the free-market capitalisation and privatisation of housing. During each reformation of the housing acts, the impact on neoliberalism had become more and more prominent. Finally, it can be stated that despite many controversies it needs to acknowledge that neoliberalism has introduced the concept of financialization in the housing sector which improves the way of marketing and trade in this sector.

Reference list:

Ahmed, A. and Madoc-Jones, I., 2020. Homelessness prevention policy in an international context: The Housing Act (Wales) 2014. Social Policy and Society, 19(1), pp.95-108.

Ahmed, A. and Madoc-Jones, I., 2020. Introduction: homelessness prevention in an international policy context. Social Policy and Society, 19(1), pp.89-93.

Ahmed, A., Madoc-Jones, I., Gibbons, A., Jones, K., Rogers, M. and Wilding, M., 2020. Challenges to implementing the new homelessness prevention agenda in Wales. Social Policy and Society, 19(1), pp.157-169.

Bramley, G. and Fitzpatrick, S., 2018. Homelessness in the UK: who is most at risk?. Housing Studies, 33(1), pp.96-116.

Dukelow, F. and Kennett, P., 2018. Discipline, debt and coercive commodification: Post-crisis neoliberalism and the welfare state in Ireland, the UK and the USA. Critical Social Policy, 38(3), pp.482-504.

Fraser, N., 2017. The end of progressive neoliberalism. Dissent, 2(1), p.2017.

Gunner, E., Chandan, S.K., Marwick, S., Saunders, K., Burwood, S., Yahyouche, A. and Paudyal, V., 2019. Provision and accessibility of primary healthcare services for people who are homeless: a qualitative study of patient perspectives in the UK. British Journal of General Practice, 69(685), pp.e526-e536.

Queen, A.B., Lowrie, R., Richardson, J. and Williamson, A.E., 2017. Multimorbidity, disadvantage, and patient engagement within a specialist homeless health service in the UK: an in-depth study of general practice data. BJGP Open, 1(3).

Squires, G.D. ed., 2017. The fight for fair housing: Causes, consequences, and future implications of the 1968 Federal Fair Housing Act. Routledge.

Steil, J.P. and Charles, C.Z., 2020. Sociology, Segregation, and the Fair Housing Act. Perspectives on Fair Housing, p.45.

Taylor, S.P., 2017. Neoliberalism & the marketisation of social housing: a study of four countries. International Journal of Sciences: Basic and Applied Research, 36(7), pp.50-61.


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