The opportunity and desire to buy: Owner-occupation in Scotland’s new towns, c. 1950-80

Valerie Wright*, Alistair Fair

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article explores the role of the post-war new towns in Scotland in providing people with the opportunity to own their own homes. Most importantly, it traces the development of this policy prior to the ‘Right to Buy’ of the early 1980s when tenants were offered substantial discounts by local authorities, housing associations and crucially, new town development corporations. The article challenges the dominance of rented tenure in existing accounts of Scottish housing, showing that there was demand in Scotland in the decades before the introduction of incentives. This article takes a ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up’ approach to understand a period of expanding opportunity for some, though not all, of those relocating and starting new lives in East Kilbride, Glenrothes and Cumbernauld. Archive evidence exploring policy and the response of the new town development corporations is complemented by analysis of life narratives provided by those that moved to the new towns and their children. In doing so, this article contributes to a growing scholarship that challenges stereotypical perceptions of class and identity in the immediate post-war decades whilst also revealing new insights into the post-war state as an enabler of opportunity for some.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-44
Number of pages26
JournalContemporary British History
Issue number2
Early online date8 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • owner occupation
  • housing
  • new towns
  • Scotland
  • postwar


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