The 23rd edition of the UK Housing Review
aims, as with 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.
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 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 the Section 1: Contemporary Issues chapters at
the beginning of the Review. This year the issues chapters focus on
the effects of, and future prospects for, welfare reform across the
UK, the way that housing and economic circumstances are creating ‘divided
generations’, and ten key housing issues that face the new government
from May 2015.
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, John Perry wrote Chapters
4 and 5, Steve Wilcox wrote Chapters 1, 2 and 6 and Peter Williams wrote
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.
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
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.