DPIR key panel discussion to address UK housing crisis

The intricate challenges and potential solutions to the UK’s housing crisis will be the focus of a key panel discussion organised by DPIR’s Professor Stephen Whitefield and Humeyra Biricik and involving the Department’s Professor Ben Ansell.

The free event – Bricks, Mortar and Beyond, Addressing the UK’s Housing Crisis – will be held in the Harold Lee Room of Pembroke College at 5pm on Thursday November 30 and is open to the public.

Expert panellists from the fields of journalism, housing policy, economics and politics will come together to discuss a range of issues – from market dynamics to policy reforms and social impacts – to offer a comprehensive view of the current state and future directions in UK housing.

On the panel are:

  • Professor Ben Ansell Ben Ansell is Professor of Comparative Democratic Institutions in the Department of Politics and International Relations and Professorial Fellow, Nuffield College. He received his PhD in Government from Harvard University in 2006 and conducts research in a wide area of comparative politics and political economy. His work has been published in a large number of academic journals and, from September 2013, he has been co-editor of Comparative Political Studies. In addition to his notable academic career, Ben Ansell has recently authored the book Why Politics Fails, which provides an insightful analysis of contemporary political challenges and the limitations of political systems in addressing societal issues. His expertise in political economy and democratic institutions is further recognised in his role as a speaker for the prestigious 2023 BBC Reith Lectures, where he delves into the intricacies of political systems and their impacts on modern societies in four lectures called “Our Democratic Future.”
  • Vicky SprattVicky Spratt is a distinguished housing journalist, documentary maker, and author, known for her impactful work in highlighting the challenges faced by renters in the UK. Her notable 2016 campaign, 'Make Renting Fair,' led to a significant policy change with the banning of letting fees for tenants in England. As an authoritative voice in housing policy, she frequently speaks at political conferences, advocating for secure and fair renting practices. Spratt's first book, Tenants, published by Profile Books in 2022, offers a compelling examination of the UK's housing crisis through the lens of ordinary people who are most affected by this crisis. Her second book will be published by 4th Estate in 2024.
  • Professor John MuellbauerProfessor John Muellbauer is a Senior Research Fellow of Nuffield College, Professor of Economics and a Senior Fellow of the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School. Renowned for his contributions to both economic research and policy-making, Professor Muellbauer is a respected authority in the field of economics. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, of the Econometric Society and of the European Economic Association and a Centre for Economic Policy Research Fellow. Professor Muellbauer’s extensive experience includes consulting for the Bank of England, HM Treasury, and the UK's Department for Communities and Local Government, along with serving as a Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve Board and the IMF. His current research encompasses a wide array of topics such as demand analysis, consumption, housing, financial stability, and macroeconomics. 
  • Richard DonnellA prominent figure in the property industry, Richard Donnell is renowned for his insightful and strategic advice on residential and mortgage markets. As the Executive Director at Houseful, he spearheads thought leadership, offering unparalleled insights into housing trends, development, mortgage lending, and investment. Richard began his career at Savills in 1994 and later joined Hometrack in 2006, which ZPG plc acquired in 2017. Under his leadership, Houseful has become a cornerstone in the property sector, encompassing brands like Zoopla, Alto, and Mojo Mortgages. His expertise is regularly sought after in media discussions about housing issues crucial to both consumers and businesses.

The housing crisis is a pervasive issue that impacts everyone, including staff, faculty, and students alike. The recent surge in rental prices has hit DPhil students particularly hard. Many of these students rely on fixed stipends or have to juggle multiple jobs along with their research commitments to be able to afford living in Oxford.

“Our goal with this panel is to foster a meaningful dialogue, how we got to this point due to decades of policy failures and explore viable solutions to the housing challenges that lie ahead.”

Humeyra Biricik

The discussion will be followed by a Q&A session. Attendees are also invited to join a drinks reception after the event, providing further opportunities for discussion and networking.

The in-person event is restricted to University of Oxford members but online attendance is open to everyone. It will be live-streamed for those who cannot attend in person.

Find out more and register online or in person.