Policy Press

Housing policy transformed

The right to buy and the desire to own

By Peter King


Jan 7, 2010

Page count

136 pages




240 x 172 mm


Policy Press
Housing policy transformed

The Right to Buy is the most controversial housing policy of the last 30 years, but it is also the most successful. Unlike the many studies that have focused on the costs of the policy and sought to show its negative impact, this book seeks to understand the Right to Buy on its own terms. It explains how the policy links with a coherent ideology based on self-interest and the care of things close to us - instead of a policy that sought to do things for people, the Right to Buy allowed people to do things for themselves.

"...invigorates the reader and provides a fresh challenge to many of the assumptions

around the RTB." Rebecca Edwards in International Planning Studies

"When I showed Mrs Thatcher figures suggesting she should give away all council housing to tenants her instant reply was 'people will not value them unless they pay at least something for them'. These and many more memories of RTB came flooding back as I read King's exceptionally good book." John Blundell, formerly Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs

Peter King is Reader in Social Thought at the Centre for Comparative Housing Research, De Montfort University. His work has focused on the application of philosophical and theoretical models to housing issues and he has written widely on issues such as need, choice, rights, housing subsidies and the nature of home.

Contents: Introduction; Owning things; What Mrs Thatcher did; What happened next; What is wrong with it?; What does it tell us?; Conclusions