council-house kid

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Ruzanna

Senior Member
Russian
He describes himself as a fairly uneducated, council- house kid who ran away to London as a teenager.

Could you please tell me what it means?
 
  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Council housing is a BE expression explained in the WR dictionary above, entry #5. Please give source and or context. Please ask if you need more help.
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    He describes himself as a fairly uneducated, council- house kid who ran away to London as a teenager.

    Could you please tell me what it means?

    Which bit of the sentence are you uncertain about?
     

    Ruzanna

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I am uncertain about council- house kid. I understand what council house is, but with a kid it semms strange to me. So, I need your help as you are native speakers of the language.

    I saw this sentence is Ready for FCE by Norris. It is the text about one writer who wrote his book looking at the structure of Harry Potter.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thank you for the source. 'Kid' means a child or young person. 'Council house kid' means he spent his childhood and youth in a council house; he was 'brought up' on a council estate. The suggestion is that his family was poor, uneducated, disadvantaged in some way, and of low social status. Home ownership used to be the aspirational and actual norm in England, probably in the UK.
     

    Ruzanna

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thank you for the source. 'Kid' means a child or young person. 'Council house kid' means he spent his childhood and youth in a council house; he was 'brought up' on a council estate. The suggestion is that his family was poor, uneducated, disadvantaged in some way, and of low social status. Home ownership used to be the aspirational and actual norm in England, probably in the UK.

    Thank you so much!
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    It's housing in which the rent is subsidized by a government agency; the agency pays part of the rent, because the family is very poor. In the US, it's called public housing, because it's partially paid for by the public (through the taxes they pay to the government).
     

    Ruzanna

    Senior Member
    Russian
    It's housing in which the rent is subsidized by a government agency; the agency pays part of the rent, because the family is very poor. In the US, it's called public housing, because it's partially paid for by the public (through the taxes they pay to the government).
    Thank you, Parla.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It's housing in which the rent is subsidized by a government agency; the agency pays part of the rent, because the family is very poor.
    This is not what "council housing" means in Britain. There is no implication that any government agency pays any part of the rent. The definition of "council housing" is that local government owns the building. Typically, the local authority lets the property out at a lower rent than normal market rent; and the authority's policy on whom to choose as tenants usually has a social ethos (income is not the only criterion). But once a tenant or family moves in, it has a right to stay there (and, incidentally, eventually buy the house at a beneficial price) when its fortunes improve.
     
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    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    No, this is a misconception. Council housing is not for profit, thus the element of profit is the only one missing, thus rents are cheaper.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    No, this is a misconception. Council housing is not for profit, thus the element of profit is the only one missing, thus rents are cheaper.
    "Not for profit" doesn't mean "lose money on purpose" though. I doubt that the rates are set so that the government will exactly break even nor is that the reason why the rates are low. It is still a subsidy for the tenants regardless of whether the owner makes a profit. What I'm saying is if I give you $100 value for $90, whether I gave you a 10% discount or paid $10 is not a real difference. You've been brainwashed by your politicians to think of subsidized housing in one way, while we've been brainwashed to think of it another way. ;)
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    The source of this text is an article in the Daily Telegraph A writer's life: G P Taylor. G P Taylor was born in 1958 and brought up in Scarborough. That was at a time when council housing rents were subsidised and long before the concepts of 'not-for-profit', 'affordable' and 'social' housing were introduced into BE conversation. Our American colleagues are perfectly correct in assuming that the tenants of council houses had their rents partially paid by others. The rents paid were not only below private sector rents, they were also below a level at which councils could break even on the cost of maintaining their housing stock. The specifics of those transactions never appeared as rent subsidy in a council's accounts, but housing services was (and is) a major budget item, and that item was paid for by funds raised through local and central taxation.

    Not surprisingly, those who paid the bulk of the taxes which provided the subsidy had a tendency to regard the occupants of council houses as their social inferiors, and that is the point of a reference to a "council-house kid", as Hermione explained in post #7.

    The politics of the disposal of council housing by sale to tenants is, perhaps, more complicated than that policy's history, but sufficient to say here that it was thought up at least 20 years before Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister and it was Labour Party policy in 1959. :rolleyes:
     
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