The origins of central control over local authority housing allocations: principle or pragmatism?
Journal of Legal History, 26, (3), . (doi:10.1080/01440360500347582).
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This article considers the motivations behind the introduction of the statutory requirement for local authority landlords, in making a decision to allocate housing, to give certain groups of people a ‘reasonable preference’. The discussion is set in the context of an examination of theories of local government covering the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In particular, it examines whether central government's decision to restrict local authorities' previous freedom in this sphere was based on any principle or theory of local government or, rather, whether it was a pragmatic decision. An analysis of the Parliamentary debates leading to the relevant Housing Acts suggests that the central–local government relationship of this period was based on pragmatism. The over-arching question of the appropriate distribution of power and functions between the centre and the localities was relatively unimportant, compared with the very real question of how sufficient houses could be built, at rents that working class people could afford.
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