Housing Policy in the UK: the importance of spatial nuance

Kim McKee, Jenny Muir, Tom Moore

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The UK has been engaged in an ongoing process of constitutional reform since the late 1990s, when devolved administrations were established in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. As devolution has evolved there has been a greater trend towards divergence in housing policy, which calls into question any notion of a ‘UK experience’. Whilst the 2014 Scottish independence referendum again returned constitutional reform high onto the political agenda, there still remain tensions between devolved governments and the UK government in Westminster, with England increasingly becoming the outlier in policy terms. Informed by ideas of social constructionism, which emphasises the politics of housing, this paper draws on an analysis of policy narratives to highlight the need for greater geographical sensitivity. This requires not only more spatial nuance, but also a recognition that these differences are underpinned by divergent political narratives in different parts of the UK. This emphasis on the politics underpinning policy has relevance internationally in other geographical contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-72
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number1
Early online date2 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • Devolution
  • Constitutional change
  • Scottish referendum
  • Housing policy
  • Welfare reform
  • Social constructionism


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