In this short talk Peter King outlines the main arguments he makes in his book, Choice and the End of Social Housing. He suggests that the provision of housing for the less well off has been dominated by the state for over sixty years. Despite some moves to increase choice for tenants in the 1980s, policy in the UK has been characterised by a desire to control the suppliers of housing, without ever giving tenants true autonomy or providing them with decent housing. The current government is using the language of choice whilst pursuing an agenda of increasing centralised control.
Peter King analyses current policy and alternatives. He demonstrates that there is an overwhelming case for subsidising only the consumers of housing and for removing controls and subsidises from the providers. This would empower tenants, provide them with genuine choice and prevent housing policy from being controlled by supply-side interests.
He shows how a new system of housing benefit can be introduced to achieve the objectives of housing policy and how this approach should relate to wider reforms of the social security system. In short, argues King, the government should promote choice and thus abolish social housing.