Post Reply
User avatar
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 47373
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.


Post by Stanley » 28 Apr 2017, 06:37


The changeover from a War Coalition Government in the General Election of 1945, before the war actually ended, gave the electorate their first chance to voice their feelings after enduring the ravages of war. There was a general feeling that after all that sacrifice and austerity it was time to address some of the perceived social ills and build a better Britain that raised the quality of life and standard of living of the masses so they opted for a democratic socialist system, the Labour Party.
This, coupled with the far sighted Beveridge report produced during the war, led to radical and far-reaching reform despite the fact that the nation was bankrupt. Apart from the advent of the free National Health Service, the next most important change was a concentration on house building financed by the government but administered by the local authorities. The concept of universal 'Council Housing' had arrived and was very successful. New housing estates sprang up all over the country and our area was no exception. Estates of new, well designed, modern houses were built and many saw their first inside toilet and bathroom. Councils administered a 'housing list' and anyone could apply for a council house at a fixed rent and maintained by the council. Eventually this became a points based system whereby first time families like newly weds or those in the greatest need were given preference. It was a fair system, did its job well and was for many years a wonderful social benefit. At this point I can imagine many a young couple who are struggling to get on the housing ladder in modern Britain asking "What went wrong?"
One major blow to the system was a change in the political climate whereby there was agitation for less reliance on a Socialist Welfare State and more emphasis on self-reliance. This led to a weakening of many of the safety nets built into the system by the 1945 Labour government. However, many students of the housing system place the first seeds of the end of 'social housing' earlier than this. They see a change of political emphasis away from a general social good to an attitude where Council Housing was seen to be a tool for dealing with 'problem families'. In earlier times councils had rules about maintaining gardens and general behaviour for tenants and enforced them. This all changed and the 'sink estate' came into being. In 1980 the Tory government under Margaret Thatcher introduced 'right to buy' whereby council tenants were allowed to buy their homes at a discount.
These changes gradually eroded the concept of Council Housing and reduced the number of locally controlled houses to the point where the waiting lists became impossibly long. In addition, the sale of houses to sitting tenants lowered the demand for affordable housing built by the private sector and they found it was more profitable to build for higher wage earners. 'Social Housing' policies became a thing of the (Socialist) past.


Avon Drive again. Note that the right hand house has an extension built on it. It has been bought by the tenant.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

Post Reply

Return to “Stanley's View”