Account for the emergence of public housing in Britain and the form that it tookIntroductionFor housing in Britain was a policy issue and had been one of the issues driving the political agenda (Somerville & Sprigings 2005). Subsequent governments in the eighties and nineties made this core in their election package because trends in the housing sector acted as an indicator to the success or failure of government. Although this may not be the case today because housing problems are now being viewed as a lifestyle problem rather than structural problems in the housing market.
The government has had to keep a close eye on the housing sector because of its contribution to the overall economy hence the development of the housing policy to fit into the demands of today. The housing policy ensures that the issues of housing are no longer being viewed as the provision of shelter alone but as complex issues with all-round solutions. The historical context and circumstances for the development of public housingAn understanding of housing policies cannot be solely be based on the local structures alone but on the national structures because policies are made at national level.
The housing policies in Britain has experienced historical dramatic shift over the years from the mid 19th century period, the first world to the present time (Balchin & Rhoden 2002). Urban housing problems has attracted attention and become an electoral as well as a political issue. Housing policies were developed based on the strong political ideologies that were prevalent at each specific time in history. These ideologies ultimately determined the housing policies because these ideologies drive the policy agendas.
These ideologies have influenced the right to buy and have reduced the role of the estate in public policy in providing social housing. Ideology and housing policyThe ideology of scientism claims that science can address any issue in the economic and social world by applying objective and rational checks (George & Wilding1990). This shows that some decisions may be viewed and addressed as political and yet they can be assessed rationally through application of scientific measures. Ideology acts as a filter through which evidence is selected before its impact on policy which makes evidence that supports ideology to be supported and those against to be downplayed (George & Wilding1990).
The development of the housing policy in the 19th century in Britain was characterised by two different views: Housing as commodity which is a consumption good available in the market. Housing as a social service to be provided for by the state. This two contrasting views represent the ideological conflict that are deep seated in the development of housing policy. Conservatives and labour governments have committed themselves to either of the two views (George & Wilding1990).
The conservative governments have been inclined to view housing as a commodity while labour governments have viewed housing as a social service (George & Wilding1990). Convergent government views by both the labour and conservative parties have generated a new ideology of individualism which is based on individuals taking responsibility for their actions and this impeded the state in interfering in the affairs of individuals (George & Wilding1990). In housing policy, individualism leads to privatisation and a surge in the right to buy which is a replacement to council housing (George & Wilding1990).