CIH survey finds strong public support for social housing but little faith in politicians

THE housing crisis is real and nowhere near enough is being done to tackle it. That’s what the British public think, according to an Ipsos MORI survey for the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH).

Almost three-quarters of people across Great Britain believe there’s a housing crisis – and more than half think we’re not talking about it enough, according to the survey by Ipsos MORI. It also shows most people don’t believe the political parties are giving the issue a lot of attention.

There was also found to be strong public support for social housing. By large margins, the public thinks social housing is important because it helps people on lower incomes get housing, which wouldn’t be affordable in the private rented sector (76% agree) and helps to tackle poverty (68% agree).

“These results send a very clear message to the new Government,” said Terrie Alafat CBE, the CIH’s chief executive. “The housing crisis is real, and we are simply not doing enough. It’s clear that the British public supports more social housing.

“On Friday the Chancellor announced he was ‘fast-tracking’ the comprehensive spending review. Here is a golden opportunity for ministers to make the ambitious changes on housing which could start to make a real difference.

“Our survey shows overwhelming support for more social housing, which is why CIH has joined the National Housing Federation, Shelter, Crisis and the campaign for the Protection of Rural England to make clear what the Government needs to do to end the housing crisis in England.

“We have called for a 10-year programme to build 145,000 affordable homes a year, with 90,000 of those at social rents. This would cost £12.8 billion a year and would return spending levels to those under Winston Churchill in the early 1950s.

“That programme would unlock billions of pounds of funding from the housing industry and add an additional 120 billion pounds to the economy each year through the creation of local jobs. And much of this could be achieved by rebalancing the existing housing budget, which overwhelmingly supports building houses for sale. In the long run, investing in social housing offers great value for money.”

The findings of the survey reveal that:

  • 73% believe there is a housing crisis in Britain – and 67% think that the Government can do something about the country’s housing problems
  • 57% think that the rising cost of housing will impact on them personally a great deal or a fair amount in the next five years – 56% say the same of ‘Brexit’
  • Overall 55% of the public, and 68% of renters, think housing has been discussed too little in Britain over the last few years
  • 52% of people support the building of new homes locally, up from 40% five years ago

Furthermore, the survey finds a downbeat mood among renters in particular:

  • 45% of private renters and 43% of social renters are concerned about their ability to pay rent at present (29% of mortgage holders are concerned about repayment)
  • Of those renting or living at home with their parents, 61% think they will never be able to afford to buy a home
  • More than a third of private renters, 38%, worry they’ll have to leave their local area because of the unaffordable cost of housing
  • 36% of people in London, whether renting or buying, are concerned they may have to move because of the cost of housing; nationally the figure is 22%

Alafat added: “The housing crisis is an economic, social and human catastrophe. But it can be solved. There is a solution; a solution that would add billions to our national economy and help millions of our fellow-citizens.”



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