new thread, old topic. For those of you who would like to understand/know more about the history of welfare, health, schooling etc in this country and why it is so important to fight for what is left, I highly recommend this Ken Loach film which was on Film 4 last night. There are many resonances with today not least the need to look out for each other and what happens when the motivation is only profit not people.
With the end of the war in Europe thousands of soldiers, sailors and airmen returned home to find that there was no where to live. The first reaction was the mass occupation of army encampments. The squatting movement then moved on to take over empty houses in London and other towns and cities. At the height of the movement it was estimated that there were more than 35,000 squatters.
As a result of the post war squatting movement, housing was pushed up the political agenda and became a central element in the establishment of the post-war settlement. The post-war Labour Government launched a massive programme of council house construction, which was to dwarf the ‘homes fit for heroes’ of twenty years before. Although the immediate programme of council house construction was scaled back due to the austerity measures brought about by the dollar shortage in 1947, it remained at high levels throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Indeed, in the 1950s the two major parties sought to outbid each other in promising the construction of more homes. Since the construction of council housing was the only means of ensuring such promises were realised, even the Tories were obliged to maintain relatively high levels of council house building. As a result, by 1970 more than a third of all householders were council tenants.