Thursday 18 February 2016 12.13pm
Yes, yes and yes.
London's population has been on the up since it hit its low point in 1986. In 1981 Inner london had a population of 2.4 million - and in 2011 it had gone up to 3.2 million - a 33% rise (and continues to rise). - so that's almost a People used to avoid the 'inner city' In particular much of SE1 used to be regarded as particularly grotty corner of London that was rough and 'well avoided'
So in the early 80s the GLC was happy to let students have council flats because at least they'd pay the rent. Some estates - like the Tyers estate just off Bermondsey Street
were full of squatters and in quite poor condition. Nowadays, most of the homes have been sold there.
It's worth looking at the research done by the LSE Cities Unit on the west Bermondsey area in 2006 - there's a lovely graph showing how the predominant type of home has changed http://www.lse.ac.uk/LSECities/citiesProgramme/pdf/housingAndTheCity/1_the_inhabitant.pdf#page=7
Since council house 'right to buy' was introduced in the early 80s, about 17,000 of the 54,000 (about 33%) council homes in Southwark have been sold off - many of which are now privately rented for about 3 times what the council rent would be. Very few council homes have been built since the 80s - the first few new ones are just coming through now.
So population up 33%, council homes down 32% - it's easy to see the big squeeze here.
And, of course, it's interesting the way you've asked the question. 30 years ago 'ordinary' people expected to live in a council house and not think anything of it - ownership was the exception rather than the rule (and earlier this week the Evening Standard said that that something like two-thirds of London residents would be renters in 10 years time - so we're heading back that way).
Successive governments have sold the public the home ownership dream and made people think of council houses as 'housing of last resort' for the most needy, rather than something there for everyone. The shortage of supply has helped to deliver this as a reality - with council having to let strictly on need.
Look at it this way - with about 20,000 people on the Southwark waiting list at the moment, if those 17,000 council homes that were sold were suddenly available for rent then the waiting list would almost completely disappear.
So a complicated picture - both in terms of policy, but also social and economic changes over the last 30 years.
Hope this helps