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The emergence of Britain as a fully-fledged home-owning society at the end of the last century has major implications for how people think about and use their housing not just as a home but as an asset. Housing has become a 'bank' which households use for various purposes, including: as a pension fund; to provide resources for care needs at all stages of life; to sponsor access to private education and other privately provided services; and, to draw on in emergencies. As a result the home has become a lynchpin of modern family life and the 21st century welfare state. The key debate in this important and timely book is whether social policy and people's homes should be so closely connected in this way, especially when housing markets are so volatile. This book begins by outlining some of the fundamentals of housing policy and housing markets. It then describes reasons for the emergence of Britain as a home- owning society and, in a parallel development, the growth of council housing. It outlines the reasons behind the withdrawal of support for council housing and its 'residualisation' into a social safety net. The next chapter argues that a new social map has been drawn in Britain due to the connection between the home owning society and the conversion of the country to a service-based economy. The link is debated between housing and welfare state development, including comparisons between Britain and other countries. Finally this book reflects on the position of housing and housing policy in the post-credit crunch era with the Brown government seeking to expand a social housing programme and revive the housing market. This book argues that housing, having been a relatively neglected field of public policy, is now rightfully re-established at the forefront of public policy and as a major pillar of the post-industrial welfare state.
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