"Between 1946-1981, five million council homes were built in Britain. At the end of the 1970s, 42% of the population lived in social housing. Today, that figure has fallen to less than 8%. In 1980, the Right to Buy scheme was introduced, granting council tenants the right to buy their home at a discount. By 1996, 30% of tenants had exercised this right; 2.2 million homes had been transferred into private ownership."
Today, 40% of ex-council homes sold via Right to Buy are now rented out more expensively by private landlords. Since the introduction of Right to Buy, successive governments have prevented local authorities from spending the money received from the sale of council houses to build new ones, leading to a chronic shortage of social housing."
Barry Jackson Tower was built by Wimpy in Aston, Birmingham, in 1972. Soon though it will be demolished and the lives and stories that lived there will be gone with it too. It was erected in an era in Britain when nearly 50% of the British population lived in social housing; within an era before Thatcher and the rush for home ownership that would stigmatise those left behind.
David Cameron's drive to destroy 'sink estates' coupled with the Housing and Planning Act will destroy whole communities and in turn social housing. Leaving in its wake private housing that the displaced tenants are unable to afford.
Britain is facing a catastrophic housing crisis and Birmingham, as the largest social landlord in the country, will be at the heart of this.
This work uses the city's £26 million housing improvement program as a catalyst to explore what will come in its wake.
Whilst Birmingham is building it's first social housing in the city, for 30 years, this will not be enough to accommodate the city's growing need - a need which inevitably of course, will be filled by housing associations and private landlords.
This is Birmingham; a city where some residents face a 99 year wait for social housing large enough to accommodate a family - a city sitting on a social housing time-bomb.