The 1984 Labour Manifesto for Manchester committed the Council to no council house rent increases until April 1986. When Sam Darby was Chair, the Housing Committee agreed to no rent increases for 1987/88, but this hadn’t been agreed by the full Labour Group, who overturned it. This was one of the issues that led to Sam Darby resigning as Chair of Housing and the Labour Group splits described in chapter 12. Dave Lunts took over as Chair, and then after Bob Young was dismissed from the post of Director of Housing in 1989 (see chapter 13), Bob King took on that responsibility as well as being City Architect.

The Local Government and Housing Act 1989 brought in requirements for the local authority to establish a Housing Revenue Account (HRA) that ring-fenced all housing income and expenditure, and prevented any subsidy to or from any other parts of the Council’s budget. In 1990 a mistake was made in the submission for the HRA subsidy, which meant a £14m loss. In 1993 Steve Mycio was promoted to Director of Housing and the Housing Committee combined with Environmental Health.

The process of transferring housing stock to housing associations was led by Claire Nangle, Deputy of the committee, who then became Chair in 1995, when Dave Lunts stepped down because of the conflict of interest of him working for the Housing Association that won the transfer deal. Under Claire Nangle’s leadership, pioneering work on probationary tenancies, led to senior housing officer Bill Pitt’s secondment to advise the 1997 Labour government, and the national introduction of ASBO legislation.
Jump to Editor’s Comments

Party Manifesto Commitment on Council House Rents
Replacing the Director of Housing
Rapid Rent Rises
An Expensive Mistake
Rent Arrears
Changes of Director and Committee
Transfer of Housing Stock
Change of Chair of Housing and Environmental Services Committee
Anti-Social Behaviour and Probationary Tenancies


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Editor’s Comments

My summary has ended up quite long for such a short chapter. I added in the Act that brought in the HRA requirement and reworded that paragraph. Other than that this chapter has mostly had minor typographical edits and adding the sub-headings that weren’t in the original. I wanted to be more clear about where the government pressure to transfer housing stock to housing associations came from, in relation to what legislation, but so far I haven’t been able to find that out. I have included in the Further Reading section a number of interesting pieces on the wider issue of council housing, affordable housing and the effect of housing associations. This is as big an issue today as it has ever been.


[1] The Labour government’s system of target rents introduced from April 2001 was the final nail in the coffin of a locally-determined rents policy.

[2] Editor’s note – this issue about how rent arrears were collected seems incomplete and unsatisfactory to me, but that is all there is.

[3] The Housing Corporation was the government agency that funded affordable homes and regulated housing associations in England. It was set up in 1964 to promote low-cost rented and co-ownership housing, and ceased to exist on 30 November 2008. The responsibilities of the Housing Corporation were taken over by the Homes and Communities Agency and the Tenant Services Authority. Their website is archived here: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100113205514/housingcorp.gov.uk/

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Further Reading

  • ‘Manchester powerhouse fears £280m HRA loss’ by Mark Lawrence for 24dash.com in Housing, 7th March 2016. History repeats itself! This article has a good explanation of the HRA issues much the same situation currently as described in this chapter.
  • Housing Act 1988
  • Local Government and Housing Act 1989 (enacted)
  • ‘Don’t look back in anger’, Inside Housing, 21 November 2008. This article gives a historic overview of the Housing Corporation’s 44 year history (with timeline).
  • Policy paper – ‘2010 to 2015 government policy: rented housing sector’ Updated 8 May 2015 www.gov.uk
  • ‘Systematic raiding of housing revenue accounts’, 20 June 2014, Inside Housing
  • ‘The end of council housing’, John Harris, 4 Jan 2016, Guardian
  • ‘The evolution of stock transfer housing associations’, Hal Pawson and Cathy Fancie, September 2003, Policy Press from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • ‘The homelessness monitor: England 2016’, Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Hal Pawson, Glen Bramley, Steve Wilcox and Beth Watts, January 2016, Crisis UK

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