( 1990-91 Prices)
( 1990-91 Prices)
|Source: Convention of Scottish Local Authorities: RSG and HSG 1991-92|
ment, the council house sales policy is difficult to understand. Political logic is more understandable, given the link between housing tenure and voting behaviour ( Heath, Jowell and Curtice, 1985; Rose and McAllister, 1986). Sales, however, have been relatively lower in the urban belt, in pan because of the higher incidence of flatted accommodation, but also because of household economics (Scottish Office Central Research Unit, 1985). Sales have been concentrated in the better housing, leaving a shrinking stock with higher repair and maintenance costs. The wisdom of selling public assets at bargain prices to fund essential modernisation and repairs is still open to question.
In housing finance, the Government have fashioned policy instruments which have moved its influence from a directive to a regulatory one. Housing is almost wholly funded from council rents. This sits easily with the notion of municipal housing as a social service for those on low incomes, described as 'residualisation' ( Malpass and Murie, 1987). The cuts in council housing expenditure have to some extent been counteracted by increased welfare benefits through the social security system. Councils will soon be charging economic rents in the narrow political definition of that concept whereby costs are met by consumers. Housing resources, it is claimed, are better targeted to those in greatest need by this approach. We would have to say that we remain sceptical that locally determined rate fund contributions were ever the way to a rational, equitable approach to housing subsidies, varying with political disposition more than tenant need. The housing equation needs to incorporate a consideration of the impact of tax relief on mortgage holders for a balanced judgement, but this is beyond the scope of our concern. We