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The Right to Buy: Examination of an exercise in allocating, shifting and re-branding risks

The Right to Buy: Examination of an exercise in allocating, shifting and re-branding risks This paper examines the development of the Right to Buy, introduced by the Housing Act 1980, from the standpoint of governmentality, risk and responsibilization. Our focus is on the risks not only to the purchasers but also to local authorities and to those tenants who have not purchased their homes. We trace how these risks have been assessed, allocated and rebranded, by central government, by local authorities as landlords with wider responsibility for housing issues in their local area, and by the judiciary. Our analysis, for the first time, points out the sharp contrasts between these three arms of government. Central government has promoted the Right to Buy as an opportunity through technologies such as ideological policy documents, legislation and regulations, within a governing rationality which has succeeded in normalizing the tenure of owner-occupation. Local authorities recognized from the outset the risks associated with the Right to Buy both to individual purchasers and more widely. The courts have allocated risk on the basis of individual responsibility, implicitly supporting local authorities. Despite neoliberal policies and ideology emphasizing the free market, central government has reduced or re-allocated risks through interventions to protect purchasers and also the broader community. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Critical Social Policy: A Journal of Theory and Practice in Social Welfare SAGE

The Right to Buy: Examination of an exercise in allocating, shifting and re-branding risks

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References (25)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2012
ISSN
0261-0183
eISSN
1461-703X
DOI
10.1177/0261018312457869
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper examines the development of the Right to Buy, introduced by the Housing Act 1980, from the standpoint of governmentality, risk and responsibilization. Our focus is on the risks not only to the purchasers but also to local authorities and to those tenants who have not purchased their homes. We trace how these risks have been assessed, allocated and rebranded, by central government, by local authorities as landlords with wider responsibility for housing issues in their local area, and by the judiciary. Our analysis, for the first time, points out the sharp contrasts between these three arms of government. Central government has promoted the Right to Buy as an opportunity through technologies such as ideological policy documents, legislation and regulations, within a governing rationality which has succeeded in normalizing the tenure of owner-occupation. Local authorities recognized from the outset the risks associated with the Right to Buy both to individual purchasers and more widely. The courts have allocated risk on the basis of individual responsibility, implicitly supporting local authorities. Despite neoliberal policies and ideology emphasizing the free market, central government has reduced or re-allocated risks through interventions to protect purchasers and also the broader community.

Journal

Critical Social Policy: A Journal of Theory and Practice in Social WelfareSAGE

Published: Feb 1, 2013

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