Monstrous Hybrids? Housing Systems in the UK and Sweden
Outline • Context • Welfare Regimes • Changes in Swedish housing policy • UK • Some reflections
Context • Comparative analysis of supported housing • Older people, young homeless and people with health problems • UK and Sweden • Overall comparison • Challenged my historical preconceptions • Set off some general thoughts about the nature of housing systems and the neo-liberal assault
Welfare Regimes • Esping-Anderson • Divergence rather than convergence • Importance of political choice • Sweden - social democratic • UK - liberal
Social Democratic Sweden (pre 1990) • Tenure neutral and generous supply side subsidy system • Strong public rental through Municipal Housing Companies with collective management • Unitary rental system (led by public sector eg rent levels and allocations) • Corporatist (rent setting) • Co-operative sector in apartments with collective management and no profits
Changes since 1990s • Marketisation of co-operative sector • Occupiers get benefit of increase in prices • Growth of owner-occupation • Scrapping of subsidies (except for MITR) • Cutting of housing allowances – rising rents • So no longer tenure neutral • Marketisation of MHCs (EU regs: normal rate of return) • Privatisation of social housing • Need allocations of tenancies changed to waiting time
Monstrous Hybrid? • Rent setting (still union bargaining) • De facto rent control • Allocations (municipal exchanges) • Homelessness (staircase model with no legal structure)
Impact • Affordability issues in owner-occupation (and in renting for vulnerable people) • Shortage of rental housing with little new supply • Problem of access to rented housing for immigrants and new households • Segregation • Homelessness (temporary housing) • Solution - Deregulate private renting?
UK a Monstrous Hybrid? • More market based system • Institutionally ill adapted PRS • Subsidized social renting • Planning system for supply
Impact • Affordability issues • Lack of overall supply • Little new investment in PRS • Difficulties of access for new households • Solution – deregulate planning system
Similar? • Strong Swedish municipalities • Public expenditure as % of GDP • Sweden 28.2 / UK 23.9 • Social expenditure per head • Sweden $11,134 / UK $8,365 • Gini • Sweden 0.341 (10) / UK 0.269 (28 out of 34)
Some Reflections • How on earth did we get here? • Importance of Path dependence • Power of neo-liberal discourse (always policy focus on what is left of state involvement) • Will this deliver? • Need to re-invent state involvement (Judt) rather relying on what is left • Why and how intervene?