Housing, austerity and health inequalities

Housing estateBackground and aim

Since the economic crash of 2008 and subsequent general elections, public spending has been cut and Local Government spending has been particularly affected. We want to prepare the ground for future research assessing how these cuts impact upon local housing provision and services, particularly those affecting people on low incomes. This preparatory work will examine how English local authorities meet the housing needs of disadvantaged residents during the ongoing period of economic hardship and public sector ‘austerity’.

The aim of this project is to prepare a research proposal by developing a systems approach to understanding how austerity is enacted in relation to local housing provision and services for low-income households, and theorising how health, including mental health and wellbeing, feature in this system and how this varies by population sub-group.

We will do this via workshops to engage national and local stakeholders which will enable us to develop a conceptual map of the ‘housing system’ with a particular focus on the national level.

It will be important to identify local authority case studies sites and conduct local document review and lead on expert and public involvement consultations.

We will conduct review of academic literature on housing, housing services and health. The team will map publically available data sources on funding for social housing and housing services for local authority areas. We will develop testable theories to explain how changes to housing provision affect the health and wellbeing of different population groups,

We will also consult experts on research methodologies, notably those with expertise in qualitative and quantitative approaches to analysing ‘system’ change.


This project runs from April 2018 to March 2019 and is funded through NIHR SPHR funding scheme.

Want to know more? 

For more information about the project contact elizabeth.mcgill@lshtm.ac.uk (Research Fellow, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine)