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By Christopher Holmes

In 1945 the Labour executive got down to allow every body to have an honest domestic, the place humans from all walks of lifestyles may well reside jointly. This dream was once destroyed by means of a succession of avoidable errors and virtually each person now turns out to think that it really is most unlikely to rediscover that imaginative and prescient. This ebook demanding situations that fatalism, tracing the coverage error that experience given upward push to this inequitable country from the folly of mass housing to the unfair tax privileges of many property owners. Holmes describes and advocates a brand new imaginative and prescient for the recent millennium, discovering options variously in improvement, making plans, financial buildings, social reform, and political reassessment to slender the space among wealthy and terrible and allow humans in all housing tenures to eventually have a choice.

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What is a serious cause of concern is the huge difference that now exists between owners and renters. There is physical segregation, with most owners living in low-density suburbs or rural communities, and many tenants living in high-density urban estates, and differences in the quality of homes and the desirability of neighbourhoods are substantial. Homeowners are able to choose where they live, while most tenants enjoy little choice. There has been a growing divide in the ownership of capital assets, so that this has become one of the major causes of inequality in Britain.

In 1982 rent rebates were replaced by housing benefit through the Social Security and Housing Benefits Act. A main objective of the Housing Finance Act was to remove the freedom of local authorities to decide on the level of rents. The view of the Government was that many The changing nature of rented housing 31 local authorities, especially Labour-controlled authorities, were charging rents that were too low. The Act compelled them to charge ‘fair rents’, which in most areas were higher than the previous rents.

Still more embarrassing for the Government was the character of the only group of tenants who chose to take advantage of the legislation. In north Paddington a group of tenants had been organising a high profile campaign against plans by Westminster City Council to sell their homes to a private developer. When the 1988 Housing Act became law they decided to use the new powers to force the council to sell the estate to their own resident-controlled association, Walterton and Elgin Community Homes (WECH).

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