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Fifty years of British housing policy: Leaving or leading the welfare state?

Malpas, Peter


Peter Malpas


This article seeks to develop a new perspective on the housing - welfare state relationship in Britain. Housing is conventionally seen as part of the post-war welfare state, but as different from other core services because of the persistence of a large market sector. Housing is also seen as having been targeted for change in the post-1975 restructuring of the welfare state, and this has been depicted in terms implying that the housing arm of the welfare state is being amputated or sold off. Social rented housing has declined significantly, both numerically and proportionately, in this period. In the present period the British government sees itself as engaged in a process of modernizing public services, but there is little mention of housing. The argument advanced in this article is that the development of housing policy after 1945 was shaped more by housing market restructuring than by ideas associated with the welfare state, and that from 1954 housing was clearly moving further away. But in more recent times developments in housing have been congruent with the modernization of the wider welfare state and a convergence is apparent, challenging the notion of housing as the wobbly pillar under the welfare state. © 2004 Taylor and Francis Ltd.


Malpas, P. (2004). Fifty years of British housing policy: Leaving or leading the welfare state?. European Journal of Housing Policy, 4(2), 209-227.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Aug 1, 2004
Journal European Journal of Housing Policy
Print ISSN 1461-6718
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Issue 2
Pages 209-227
Keywords housing policy, welfare state, Great Britain
Public URL
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