Thatcher’s ‘Right to Buy’ Reform at 40: A Policy Feedback Analysis of UK Social Housing Policies
journal contributionposted on 07.06.2021, 14:46 by Sanya Naqvi, Daniel Beland, Alexander Waddan
Focusing on policy feedback, this article examines the influence, four decades after its enactment, of Margaret Thatcher’s 1980 ‘Right to Buy’ (RtB) policy on today’s social housing institutions in the UK. We argue that through interest-group feedback mechanisms, RtB helped expand and reinforce the UK landlord class. Furthermore, we assert that the policy pressures placed on local councils to embody housing within the welfare state contributed to a path-dependent, privatisation feedback mechanism. More generally, an analysis of the UK case is important as it could help us think about housing privatisation in terms of policy feedback and long-term historical legacies.