The 25th anniversary edition of the UK Housing Review aims, as with all previous editions, to draw together key current financial and related data about
both public and private housing in the United Kingdom, and rapidly assemble them in a coherent and accessible format.
To celebrate 25 years in which Steve Wilcox has led the editorial team for the Review, he has written a chapter reflecting on key policy issues that the
Review has focussed on since it was first published in 1993 as the Housing Finance Review, under the auspices of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the
University of York's Centre for Housing Policy.
The Review was just being 'put to bed' when the government published the English housing white paper, Fixing our broken housing market. The authors
were able to incorporate points about the white paper in Commentary Chapters 3 and 4; further analysis will appear in June in the regular UK Housing Review
As in all previous editions, the Review draws on a wide range of expenditure plans and departmental reports, as well as official or other statistical volumes,
survey reports, web portals and publications based on specific research projects. The Review also includes a number of tables constructed from databases that
are not routinely published elsewhere. The Review's roll-call of post-war housing ministers in England appears inside the front cover.
The structure of the Review, and its sparse text, aim above all to provide a swift guide to the data, with wider and more detailed analysis confined to Section 1:
Contemporary Issues. This year the chapters in this section focus on the likely effects on the housing market and on migration as we move towards Brexit, a comparison
between housing in the UK and the rest of the European Union, the continuing impact of welfare reform across the UK, and the editor-in-chief’s reflections on 25
years of housing issues.
The six chapters of Section 2: Commentary offer a brief introduction to and discussion of the key developments in policy, financial provision and outputs, that
are reflected in the tables and figures in the main Compendium of Tables. They also provide a reference to other publications and data offering further useful insights
into current policy issues. Of this year’s six Commentary Chapters, Mark Stephens wrote Chapters 1 and 6, Steve Wilcox wrote Chapter 2, Peter Williams wrote Chapter
3 and John Perry wrote Chapter 4. Chapter 5 was a joint effort from the Heriot-Watt University team of Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Beth Watts and Mark Stephens.
A longer perspective
Many of the tables in the Review provide data over a long time-series. Wherever possible those tables start in 1970, providing data at five-year intervals for the years
to 1995 or 2000, with annual data for more recent years. The precise range of the years covered varies from table to table, depending both on data availability and the
practicality of setting out data on a single page. Even with its landscape format, there are limits to the number of years’ data that the Review can fit onto a single page.
In some form, most of the tables in this year’s volume have been carried in all previous editions, and readers can consult back copies for data for the individual
years between 1981 and 1995 that are no longer published. However, readers should exercise care as in some cases data for those earlier years may subsequently have
been revised, primarily as a result of changes in definitions. A cross-check of the data for those years still published in the current edition of the Review
will generally indicate whether or not this is an issue. In this edition, a small number of new tables have been introduced and old ones omitted.
The Review contains several tables providing data for the regions of England. Many of those tables provide data for the long-established standard statistical regions
(SSRs). For some time, however, government statistics have been published primarily on the basis of (the former) government office regions (GORs). This presents
difficulties in providing a consistent long run of regional data. Wherever possible, current data for standard regions have been sought, in order to provide a
consistent data series. This has not, however, always been possible; equally long back-series of data for government office regions are not always available. In some
cases, therefore, the Review includes recent data for GORs, together with earlier data for SSRs. This is clearly indicated in the tables concerned. It should also be
noted that the former Merseyside region was some time ago incorporated within the North West.
There have been changes in the nomenclature of government office regions in the past; they are now generally shown in the Review under their current names.
However, these names are not always used in our source documents or datasets, and we have followed the practice in the latest editions of our sources, rather than
impose a uniform usage.
One further point to be noted on English regional housing statistics is that, with the idiosyncratic 2011 DCLG decision to cease inclusion of such figures within its
own official statistics, their continued compilation and inclusion (where possible) in the Review has become even more valuable.
Over the course of time, government departments are restructured or simply change their name. Thus over the years of the Review's publication the department
responsible for housing policy in England has evolved from the Department of the Environment, through the Department of the Environment, Transport and the
Regions, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, to now being the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Where data series have been made available continuously over that period, the reference given for that data in the tables of the Review is the current form and
name of the responsible department. Where, however, reference is made to historical data the reference will be to the form and name of the responsible
department at the time they were initially published or otherwise made available to the Review.
The UK Housing Review website
The whole body of tables in the Review, together with the Commentary Chapters (but not the Contemporary Issues articles), are available on
the Review's newly refurbished website (www.ukhousingreview.org.uk).
Comments and suggestions
Finally, the editors would welcome any comments or suggestions on the current and future format and contents of the Review, and they can be contacted by email,
phone or letter - see Acknowledgements.