Council house

form of public or social housing in the UK and Ireland
(Redirected from Council housing)

The council house is a form of public housing found in Ireland and the United Kingdom, sometimes called social housing in modern times. Council houses were built and operated by local councils to help the local population. Council houses were built and operated by local councils. The aim was to supply uncrowded, well-built homes with lower rents to working-class people. Council house building began in the late in the 1860s in London and Liverpool. The Housing of The Working Classes Act, 1890[1] gave local councils powers to buy land and build houses. The Housing, Town Planning, &c. Act 1919 gave them money to pay for the building and powers to build outside their own areas..[2] Between 1919 and 1939, local councils built a total of 1.1 million homes.[3]

Council houses at Hackenthorpe in South Yorkshire.
Some developments have become run-down like these flats being demolished in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

It peaked in the mid-20th century.[4] The Housing Act 1980[5] gave tenants the Right to Buy their home at a large discount. Gerald Kaufman, then in the Labour Party Shadow Cabinet and a former Environment Minister himself, said the Act would "not provide a single new home and [would] deprive many homeless people or families living in tower blocks from getting suitable accommodation".[6]

As of 2005, approximately 20% of the country's housing was owned by local councils or by housing associations. The largest council estate in the country (and one of the largest in the world)[7] is Becontree, Dagenham, with a population of over 100,000. Building started in the 1920s and took nearly 20 years to finish.

The Republic of Ireland has a similar public housing system, Local Authority Accommodation.


  1. Book (eISB), electronic Irish Statute. "electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB)". Retrieved 2023-07-14.
  2. "Housing, Town Planning, &c. Act 1919". 1919. Retrieved 27 July 2022.
  3. "Council housing". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2019-08-12.
  4. Hollow, Matthew (2011). "Suburban Ideals on England's Interwar Council Estates". Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  5. "Housing Act 1980". 1980. Retrieved 14 July 2023.
  6. Paul Balchin, Housing Policy: An Introduction (Routledge, 2002), p. 188.
  7. Jon Cruddas, House of Commons Hansard Debates for 13 Jul 2001 (pt 5), Column 1066, United Kingdom Parliament Hansard