Nowadays, you often see images of these blocks of 1960s and 70s social housing being dynamited to make way for something nicer. But at the time they were built, they were a great improvement on the picturesque slums the tenants had lived in before. Very few houses had central heating (look at how much clothing people wear indoors in old films) and when the first Scottish winter in their new flats arrived, the chosen few basked in the glow of modern home comfort. Then, as Glasgow writer James Kelman described it, it was as if somebody had thrown a giant switch and all the heating snapped off on the same day. The day the electricity bills arrived.
That’s the “fuel poverty” the February 2013 OECD survey of the UK economy mentions, so the problem obviously hasn’t gone away. It sounds incredible, given that GDP per capitahas risen from less than $15,000 to over $35,000 in real terms since the Electric Flats were built. However, the expansion of the economy hasn’t benefited everybody equally and...READ MORE AT OECDINSIGHTS.ORG
Originally published on oecdinsights.org