Ensuring access to affordable, decent and secure housing as part of the Social Guarantee will require much more than bricks and mortar. It will require an end to the treatment of land and homes as financial assets, a strengthening of tenants’ rights, and a development model that responds to local needs. Public bodies and local communities must be properly resourced and empowered to ensure that our housing stock is high quality, environmentally sustainable, and integrated with the transport links, amenities and spaces for recreation that glue communities together. We can learn from Germany about sustainable housing, Austria about land ownership and socially mixed communities, Denmark about co-operative models of ownership and the Netherlands about rent cost control. 

Related Publications

Chapter 5 in George Monbiot (editor), Robin Grey, Tom Kenny, Laurie Macfarlane, Anna Powell-Smith, Guy Shrubsole, Beth Stratford (2019) Land for the Many 

This report chapter offers a concise analysis of why the UK’s current development model is failing to meet needs.  It argues that development should be led by democratically-accountable public bodies and communities, and proposes reforms to the planning system to address imbalances of power, which currently allow deep-pocketed developers excessive influence over local decision-making.

Daniel Bentley (2018), Civitas

This briefing note builds the case for reform of the UK’s Land Compensation Act to enable public authorities to acquire land at prices closer to its current use value, rather than its potential future residential value. The analysis shows that this one reform could reduce the cost of building genuinely affordable housing by up to 50%.

The final report of the commission on the future of social housing, Shelter

Shelter’s commission recommends a historic renewal of social housing, with a 20-year programme to deliver 3.1 million more social homes. This will allow the benefits of social housing to be offered much more widely – providing both security for those in need and a step up for young families trying to get on and save for their future.

Donal Brown, Hanna Wheatley, Chaitanya Kumar, Joanne Marshall (2020), New Economics Foundation

This report builds the case for the ‘retrofit’ of millions of homes in the coming years, involving multiple, integrated building fabric measures, new heating systems and controls, and the widespread adoption of rooftop solar. It estimates the carbon savings, bill reductions and employment benefits that could flow from such a scheme.

Chapter 3 in George Monbiot (editor), Robin Grey, Tom Kenny, Laurie Macfarlane, Anna Powell-Smith, Guy Shrubsole, Beth Stratford (2019), Land for the Many 

This report chapter explains why the soaring land and house prices in places like the UK cannot be stabilised by simply building more houses. It proposes a range of measures to discourage land and housing from being treated as financial assets, discourage risky and inflationary mortgage lending by banks, and encourage a more efficient use of the existing housing stock.

Hanna Wheatley, Sarah Arnold and Joe Beswick (2019), New Economics Foundation

This report offers an analysis of different approaches to rent control around the world, and evaluates them in relation to five principles: affordability; security of tenure; feasibility; equity; and the risk of negative effects to the wider economy and housing market. 

Nicholas Pleace (2017), University of York

The integrated Finnish National Homelessness Strategy is often seen as the envy of the economically developed world. Challenges remain and progress is not always even, but Finland is approaching a point at which recurrent and long-term homelessness will be nearly eradicated and experience of any form of homelessness will become uncommon.

Does Vienna have the world's best council housing?

Channel 4's George Clarke visits a council estate in Vienna as part of his series, 'George Clarke's Council House Scandal'