Social Housing and Public Sector Job Ready Programme

History of Social Housing

Social housing started to emerge over a hundred years ago with The Housing of the Working Class Act 1890 - which encouraged local authorities to improve the housing in their area.

The Housing and Town Planning Act 1919 gave council's large government subsidies to build and maintain social housing for those most in need, which led to large scale council housing.

In the 1930's mass slum's which had emerged, particularly in the East End, were being demolished and cleared to make way for quality housing for those living there.

The Beveridge Report of 1942 outlined a comprehensive welfare state including a mass social housing building programme, especially within the inner cities.

After the Second World War there was a massive housing shortage and in and effort to address this, especially within inner cities where the populations were rapidly rising, lots of prefabricated houses and flats were built.

The pre-fabricated homes continued to be built through the 1950's and 60's despite being criticised for their poor design & build resulting in some of the high density estates you can see today.

Fewer homes were built in the 1970's with council's busy focusing on repairing & maintaining their existing housing stock, which had started to deteriorate.

The Right to Buy Act of 1980 led to many of the better quality council properties being purchased by existing sitting tenants, which was compounded by the lack of investment in social housing during the 1980s. This caused a significant decline in the availability of decent council housing.

The Housing and Planning Act 1986 gave councils the option to transfer all, or part, of their housing stock to another landlord, such as a Registered Social Landlord (RSL). This has been widely utilised during the 1990s, where the number of RSL owned properties increased, whilst the number of council owned properties declined.

In the UK, the social rented sector now makes up around 20 per cent of the housing stock. Registered Social Landlord (RSL) is the technical name for a social landlord who is registered with the Housing Corporation: most are often called housing associations, but there are also trusts, co-operatives and companies.

Through regulation the Housing Corporation seeks to ensure that people will want, and be able, to live in these homes, now and in the future, with key considerations around affordability, availability and sustainability.

Communities and Local Government sponsors the Housing Corporation to invest public money in RSL's and protects that investment by ensuring that it provides decent homes and services for residents.

RSL's are the main providers of new social housing. There are over 1,800 RSL's in England, currently managing around 1.7 million homes and housing at least twice that many people.

RSL's are run as 'not for profit' businesses. Any surplus made is ploughed back into the organisation to maintain existing homes and to help finance new ones.

The largest 13% of RSL's - those with 2,500 plus homes - own over 80 per cent of all the sector's homes. Many new RSL's have been formed to manage and develop homes transferred to them by local authorities.

The housing sector currently needs to consistently create many tens of thousands of new homes each year, which is clearly evident in the current political & public discourse around this vital matter.

RSL's and local councils do not have the necessary skills needed for applicants at recruitment stage, nor have they managed to keep up with the significant staffing capacity required to maintain the relentless need for more homes, and appropriately trained new staff.