How right to buy fuelled the UK housing crisis – podcast

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The Guardian

When Margaret Thatcher introduced the Housing Act 1980, Helen and millions of others in the UK were given the opportunity to buy their council houses.

“I can remember it being a big new thing and great opportunities for people who wouldn’t normally be able to get on to the property ladder. And this idea of owning your own home was promoted as the be all and end all really,” Helen says.

Now, with her daughter Rachel unable to buy and renting in shared accommodation, she wonders if buying was a mistake.

But Lynsey Hanley, author of Estates: an Intimate History and Respectable: Crossing the Class Divide, says there is no way people buying in the 80s or 90s could have known what would happen next.

“There’s no way they could have envisaged that their children will be, in real terms, possibly on lower wages than them,” she says. She argues the factors which make housing so unaffordable and out of reach were “created by governments making specific decisions”.

Hanley tells Hannah Moore about decades of policies that have left a stark generational divide between those who own and those who rent. Vicky Spratt, a campaigner and author of the book Tenants: Stories of Britain’s Housing Shame talks about the reality for renters and what still needs to be done to protect their rights.

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July 18, 2022 at 07:40AM Presented by Hannah Moore with Lynsey Hanley and Vicky Spratt; produced by Tom Glasser, Alex Atack and Axel Kacoutié; executive producers Elizabeth Cassin and Phil Maynard

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