Housing Privatisation Conference - Call for Papers / Registration Open

Stuart Hodkinson s.n.hodkinson at leeds.ac.uk
Wed Feb 3 09:57:28 GMT 2010


Housing Privatisation, 30 Years on: Time for a Critical Re-appraisal

26- 27 July 2010, University of Leeds, UK 

Organised by: Stuart Hodkinson, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow (School of Geography, University of Leeds), s.n.hodkinson at leeds.ac.uk 

Steering group: Paul Watt (Birkbeck), Sarah Glynn (St Andrews), John Grayson (Sheffield Hallam University), Quintin Bradley (Leeds Metropolitan University), Glyn Robbins (London Metropolitan University) and Lee Crookes (University of Sheffield)

2010 marks the thirtieth anniversary of one of the most significant government policy agendas in modern British politics - the privatisation of public housing and the expansion of owner occupation.  It is 30 years since the newly-elected Conservative government gave tenants of local authority housing ('council housing') the statutory 'Right to Buy' their council home at discounted prices.  The Right to Buy was complemented by public spending cuts on housing, deregulation and a range of 'demunicipalisation' strategies aimed at transferring the remaining council housing to not-for-profit social landlords.  Since 1997 New Labour has embraced this 'roll back' agenda, preventing local authorities from building new council housing despite the massive growth in housing waiting lists.  At the same time, new market-based approaches, such as arms length companies, public-private partnerships, and choice-based lettings, have been 'rolled out' to what remains of the public housing stock in return for new investment to tackle disrepair. 30 years on, today less than a fifth of society lives in 'social rented housing' compared to 1980 when one-third of the population lived in council housing as a mainstream tenure of choice.  At the same time, Britain is engulfed in a crisis of housing unaffordability and insecurity.  In England alone, 1.8 million households - four million people - are on council housing waiting lists, nearly 100,000 live in temporary accommodation, and 554,000 households are overcrowded.  While we are told by government and economists to celebrate the social and economic benefits of owner occupation and investing in the housing market, the contraction of affordable, secure, public rented housing in favour of reliance on the private sector is seen by critics as a major cause of today's housing crisis. 

So, after three decades of housing privatisation in Britain, this public conference calls on academics, housing professionals, tenants' and residents' associations, policy makers, and campaigners to stand back and critically reflect on the aims, methods and, above all, consequences of this neoliberal agenda, and what lessons we can draw for future housing policy. 

Keynote speakers include:

* Professor Peter Malpass (University of West England), author of Housing and the Welfare State (Palgrave MacMillan, 1995).

* Professor Danny Dorling (University of Sheffield), co-author of The Great Divide: an Analysis of Housing Inequality (Shelter, 2005)

Sessions and call for individual papers: 

We currently have six themed sessions (see www.geog.leeds.ac.uk/research/conferences/housing-privatisation-conference.html for full details and session organiser contact details) 

1. Housing Privatisation in Britain: Motives, Mechanics, Actors and Effects

2. Housing Regeneration at the crossroads: the end of the New Labour era. Privatisation, hybridisation or sustainable mixed communities?

3. Privatisation and the Tenants' Movement

4. Law and Post-Social Housing

5. Alternatives to the Market

6. Making Public Housing Work

If you want to propose a paper / presentation / intervention to one of these sessions, please send a title and abstract (within 200 words) of your proposed paper to individual session organizers by 20 March, 2010. 

We very much welcome the attendance of PhD students and researchers in the early stages of their careers at this conference, as well as tenants, campaigners and the general public.

The programme will be completed by end of March 2010. Keep checking the website:


Registration details

Registration for the conference is now open and will close on 1st July. Please fill out the registration form and payment form online. You will also find accommodation details there.


Conference fees:

Academic / Professional / Waged - £60
Student - £20 
Concessions - no charge

For all inquires about the conference themes and organisation, please contact Stuart Hodkinson, s.n.hodkinson at leeds.ac.uk, 0113-343-1820 (working part-time, Mondays to Wednesdays)

For all registration and accommodation inquiries, please contact Calum Carson c.carson at leeds.ac.uk or 0113-343-8245

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