Just over a century ago legislation was passed that made housing a national responsibility and gave local authorities the task of building rented homes for working people. The founding principle for the provision of this council housing was the inability of the private rented sector, with its notoriously poor quality housing, to adequately provide for all those in need of decent, rented accommodation. The passing of the Addison Act 1919, from which council housing was born, gave a kick start to dramatic growth which has seen 5.5 million homes built by local authorities since the Act was passed. This intervention has provided quality homes and security for millions of families.
In recent years, however, successive governments have sought to marginalise the role of council housing in meeting the countries housing needs and to rely more on the private rented sector and housing associations to provide homes for those unable to buy. As a result, less money was made available to councils to build the homes their communities needed. At a time when soaring house prices have seen an increase in demand for decent affordable housing, there has been a dramatic slump in the supply of new council housing. This has been exacerbated by the sell-off existing council stock under the right to buy. The housing association sector which has increasingly focussed it’s energy’s on building homes for rent at private marked rates and for private sale, has failed to make up the deficit in supply. The lack of availability of council housing has resulted in an increase in the numbers of households living in poor quality, unaffordable, private rented accommodation that lacks the security of tenure around which they can build their lives.
The Labour Campaign for Council Housing was established in 2019, the 100 year anniversary of the Addison Act, by a group of Labour Party members and activists who believe that radical action needs to be taken to resolve the current crises of affordability. We believe that council housing must play a central role in that resolution. We are, therefore, seeking to influence Labour Party policy at local and national government level to ensure that the council homes that our communities need are funded and built, and that these homes are well maintained, have security of tenure and genuinely affordable social rent.
(News items and signed article on our website do not necessarily reflect the collective view of our campaign.)