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Social Progress in Britain$
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Anthony F. Heath

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198805489

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198805489.001.0001

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The Fight against Squalor

The Fight against Squalor

Overcrowding, Homelessness, and Affordability

with Elisabeth Garratt

(p.88) 5 The Fight against Squalor
Social Progress in Britain

Anthony F. Heath

Elisabeth Garratt

Ridhi Kashyap

Yaojun Li

Lindsay Richards

Oxford University Press

Beveridge was right to identify poor housing as a distinct giant since housing conditions have important implications for people’s well-being. Britain made great strides initially in building new houses, reducing the level of overcrowding, and improving amenities. Progress subsequently slowed; overcrowding remained at the same level after the late 1980s, and homelessness increased. Demographic change increased the demand for housing while rising prosperity also increased pressure on the housing market. Increasing income inequality was reflected in increasing inequality in access to housing. Another important part of the explanation is the declining affordability of housing and the increase in rents in both the private and the social housing sectors. The move in the 1980s to a more market-oriented approach to housing, combined with increasing economic inequality, must be a major factor in explaining the current housing crisis.

Keywords:   housing crisis, overcrowding, amenities, homelessness, social housing, private renting, owner occupation, inequality, affordability, sale of council housing

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