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Housing Policy in the UK: The Transformation of the "Right To Buy" Social Housing Policy

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This paper examines how and why the Right to Buy (RTB) scheme changed drastically in the UK from 1980 to 2016 through the lens of Hall's model of social learning and Sabatier's advocacy coalition framework (ACF). This paper argues that changes were made to the Right to Buy scheme from 1980 to 2016 in order to increase the attractiveness of the policy. The study was conducted using a non-positivist approach to research. The findings of this study revealed that that the UK government's decision to reduce the residency requirement from 3 years to 2 years in the RTB scheme in 1984 and to increase the percentage of discounts in the scheme constitutes a first-order policy change as described by Hall. On the other hand, the introduction of the new Right to Acquire in the RTB policy by the Labor party in 1997 constitutes a second-order change. While abolishing the RTB policy in Scotland by the Scottish National Party in July 2016 constitutes a third-order change. Furthermore, the results of this paper showed that the shared core beliefs in the virtues of private ownership between the Conservative party and the "New Labour" that came to power in 1997 in the UK can better be understood through the lens of Sabatier's ACF.
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