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Housing Stock Transfer in Birmingham and Glasgow: The Contrasting Experiences of Two UK Cities

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Housing stock transfer is arguably one of the more controversial aspects of New Labour's housing policy. It was a policy originally pursued under the Conservative governments from the 1980s into the early 1990s and has gained pace under New Labour since 1997. Across Britain, the Westminster government, along with the devolved Scottish and Welsh administrations in Edinburgh and Cardiff, have all demonstrated a commitment of late to the use of stock transfer to reshape and reconfigure social housing provision. This paper considers some of the key aspects of stock transfer, not least the underlying national policy drivers of demunicipalization and use of private finance, and then explores the contrasting fortunes of stock transfer in the two largest local authority social housing authorities in Britain, that is Birmingham and Glasgow. In 2002 Birmingham tenants rejected stock transfer while in Glasgow, following a tenant vote for transfer, the city's entire council housing stock was transferred to a not-for-profit housing agency. The different experiences of the pursuance of stock transfer in these two cities together highlight some of the key questions and issues that are now being asked of this central component of New Labour's approach to social housing.
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Keywords: Birmingham; Glasgow; Social rented housing; community empowerment; demunicipalization; stock transfer

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Coventry University, UK 2: The Open University, Edinburgh, UK 3: The University of Paisley, UK 4: The University of Warwick, UK

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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