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Understanding AffordabilityThe Economics of Housing Markets$
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Geoffrey Meen and Christine Whitehead

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781529211863

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529211863.001.0001

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Subsidizing the Housing Costs of Lower-Income Tenants

Subsidizing the Housing Costs of Lower-Income Tenants

(p.195) 12 Subsidizing the Housing Costs of Lower-Income Tenants
Understanding Affordability

Geoffrey Meen

Christine Whitehead

Policy Press

Chapter 12 turns to tenant subsidies. Since the introduction of income-related housing subsidies to tenants in the early 1970s there has been continuing debate about the relative weight to be given to demand side and supply side subsidies. The numbers helped by the second is limited by available supply while in the UK the first provides an as of right benefit to all eligible households in both the social and private rented sectors. Other issues relate to the efficiency and capacity to target assistance, the relative public expenditure costs to achieve government objectives, and their impact on the allocation of affordable housing and on work incentives. One of the most important and unpredicted changes in housing has been the growth of private renting which now accommodates around 20 per cent of households in the UK. The chapter discusses these tenure shifts and examines how austerity, regulation and changes to welfare policy have impacted on households and affordability.

Keywords:   Tenant subsidies, Demand and supply subsidies, Social renting, Private renting, Welfare policy, Work incentives

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