Rental housing policy in England: Post crisis adjustment or long term trend?

Mark Stephens*, Christine Whitehead

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The UK Coalition government, formed in 2010, has set in place major housing policy reforms. Its objective is in part to address the country’s structural deficit, but also to rationalise the housing finance and welfare systems to ensure that assistance is more directly targeted and better value for money for government. Many commentators see these reforms as new and draconian while others regard them as just one more set of incremental changes in line with trends over the last four decades. This paper addresses this question by examining both long term trends in housing finance and policy and structural changes as they have affected the rental sector, particularly those shifting the balance between supply and demand side subsidies. The evidence suggests that the majority of changes over the longer term have been bi-partisan and have reflected economic tensions as much as political ideology. The biggest difference in current policy is not in the continuing shift towards demand side subsidies but more in the extent that lower income households will be expected to make larger contributions to their own housing costs. Whether policies on either the supply or the demand side will be fully implemented remains to be seen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-220
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Housing and the Built Environment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • Affordable rents
  • Housing allowances
  • Housing benefit
  • Housing finance
  • Housing policy
  • Supply side subsidies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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