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The Right-to-Sell - a National Housing Service?


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Keynote by Danny Dorling at the 'Housing Privatisation, 30 Years On: Time for a Critical Re-appraisal' conference, University of Leeds, July 27th 2010.

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The Right-to-Sell - a National Housing Service?

  1. 1. The Right-to-Sell – a National Housing Service? Danny Dorling – University of Sheffield /18 Housing Privatisation, 30 Years On: University of Leeds Time for a Critical Re-appraisal 27 th of July 2010 National Health Service National Education Service Council Housing (when we were More unequal) Polarisation in Voting (proportion of Tory voters Who have to move home to get an even spread) HE ?
  2. 2. Take a long perspective - education <ul><li>National education service for middle class </li></ul>/18 Elementary education for all… Then Secondary … then? university Middle class expansion Current cuts to HE flying in the face of 80%+ aspiration levels – a last ditch attempt to preserve privilege? ? HE / academies
  3. 3. Inequality in mortality: Britain - area <ul><li>Squares: under age 65 mortality rate of the best-off 10% by area is as compared to the average (how much lower). Diamonds: excess mortality the worst-off 30% is than the average. Source Thomas & Dorling, 2009 </li></ul>/18 This was the effect of the NHS – again it helped the middle classes - greatly accelerating increase in inequality in health
  4. 4. Income in Britain: richest 1% share <ul><li>Squares: post tax share of all income in Britain received by the best off 1%. Sources: Atkinson (2003, figures 2 and 3), Brewer et al (2008, p. 11). It is likely that the final bonuses brought the 2007/8 level back to 1929… </li></ul>/18 Council housing was first built in significant numbers and then expanded in much greater numbers for the ‘respectable working class’ and was used by the lower middle class. It became less popular as inequality rose overall. Tenure reflects wealth spread. Council house building (guess!)
  5. 5. Voting in Britain: Tory Segregation <ul><li>Proportion of Conservative voters who would have to move constituency for each to have an equal share (1974 average shown: 8.01% in the February election and 10.74% in the October election of that year…) Source “Injustice” </li></ul>/18 2010 We are back to being two nations – as geographically divided as the early 1920s by how we vote, by our health chances and by the degree to which we think we might benefit from inequality which now serves the interests of a very small number of people and relies on the fears of more.
  6. 6. Inequalities in health – latest figures by area (district gap) /18 Gap in years between the average life expectancy in the worse-off district of Britain and the best-off, al, women, men, Source: ONS various years When the latest figures were released on 21 October 2009 at 9:30 am, for the First time in many years the BBC chose not to report the rise. Instead it lead with “Swine flu vaccination under way” and then “Big variation in life expectancy ”. The ONS press release was titled “Life expectancy continues to rise”.
  7. 7. We need to recognise where we are now – in a kind of denial /18 Consider the predictions of the IMF for public sector deficits and fiscal stimulus plans in 2007-2010. Then consider the geography of the rise in unemployment in the United States from 2004 onwards. There is no inevitability that inequality will rise or fall from now-on. It would be in the direct interests of at least 95% of people for it to fall, but that is no guarantee. One great change 1928-2009 is how much more dependent the UK now is on the USA so it is worth looking at the US.
  8. 8. /18 28/07/10 Architektur und Stadt in der Finanzkrise - Kartografie des Finanzmarktes (Thanks to Benjamin Hennig, University of Sheffield!)
  9. 9. /18
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  12. 12. /18 See or
  13. 13. The USA is in by far the worse post-war bust – it is expected to hit the UK soon /18 4.5% today
  14. 14. The crash: US mortgage debt, 1977–2009 (% change and US$ billion) /18 Source: US federal reserve – for details see
  15. 15. Anatomy of a bubble /18 From “Housing booms, busts and taxes” – slides by Toby Lloyd You are here “ I still remain fairly pessimistic for the UK housing market. The worry is that prices will start to turn down again in 2010. I fully expect a peak-to-trough drop of at least a third when all is said and done. So why am I wrong? “ From: House prices will soon fall again David Blanchflower Published 28 January 2010
  16. 16. First time buyer negative equity: The image almost 18 years ago /18
  17. 17. The “right to sell” – why now <ul><li>Has been discussed by many people and has wider implications than housing (some private schools became academies in 2009 for example – ‘we’ all have the option with the NHS). </li></ul><ul><li>Is only politically feasible (by ‘reform’) in a time of crisis – that might be next year. </li></ul><ul><li>Already exists in many forms but is only used by a very few families (‘market rescue’). </li></ul><ul><li>Will not occur if not presented as an option and worked through – needs work now – by people who know more about housing than me. </li></ul>/18
  18. 18. “ The right to sell” – selling it <ul><li>‘ Hardworking families’ – ‘no fault of their own’ – similar rhetoric as in 1919 / 1945. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep children with their school friends. </li></ul><ul><li>We can overcome the problem of over 1000 kinds of heating system (crania). </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Responsible’ lenders will not lend to folk likely to default – less ‘queue jumping’. </li></ul><ul><li>Do you want trailer parks? Where? For you? Or you children or your friends? </li></ul><ul><li>Finally – who said this in 2009? </li></ul><ul><li>Please don’t “… make me sound like a prat for not knowing how many houses I’ve got.” </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>/18
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