The privatization of council housing: Stock transfer and the struggle for accountable housing

Stewart Smyth

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    A central element in the privatization of council housing has been the
    development of stock transfer policy. A variety of perspectives on this
    process have been explored including the impact on accountability relations;
    however, the tenants’ experience is almost completely absent from
    this literature. The paper develops a case study that draws on the experience
    of the tenants involved in a stock transfer. In the process stock
    transfers, and related accountability relations, are shown to be contested
    with tenant-led campaigns challenging this neoliberal inspired policy.
    The case study illustrates the power and financial resource asymmetries
    in transfer campaigns with a range of anti-democratic tactics employed
    by those pursuing the transfer. On the basis of a critique of neoliberalism,
    the stock transfer process is seen as an attack on the previous democratic
    control of council housing, which is replaced with ‘governance by experts
    and elites’ and private sector inspired corporate governance forms of
    accountability. Thus the paper seeks to answer two questions; how democratic
    is the transfer process and what are the long-term implications for
    democratic accountability in the social housing sector.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37-56
    JournalCritical Social Policy
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Accountability
    • Neoliberalism
    • Privatization
    • Tenants’ movement
    • Stock transfer


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