UK public would back new era of social housing construction
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Development
UK public would back new era of social housing constructionImage: Housing via Shutterstock
Politicians should not shy away from campaigning for a new era of social housing construction after a new survey showed the majority of the public would back it.
Research from the Fabian Society shows that an overwhelming 93% of the population feels that the UK housing system is not functioning correctly with more than half of those questioned (57%) saying they would support more social housing being built. A further 22% feel indifferent with only 15% opposing more building.
Crucially three quarters (74%) of those who support more social housing construction say they would also support homes being built in their area. This finding throws into doubt the long held assumption among many that new developments are often likely to be opposed by the majority of local residents.
With the housing crisis continuing to climb up the political agenda and the general election only nine months away the findings should give confidence to politicians at national and local levels that backing developments of social housing could be a vote winner.
The think tank report ‘Silent Majority: How the public will support a new wave of social housing’ has been supported by the not-for-profit Home Group – one of the UK’s largest providers of affordable housing.
Brian Ham, Home Group executive director of enterprise and development, said: “It’s obvious the UK housing market isn’t working. A new era of growth in affordable housing construction has a major part to play in addressing the situation.
“The findings of this report confirm what Home Group has experienced in practice at some of our developments and it’s fitting the authors of the report have used the phrase Silent Majority in the title.
“The small number of residents who oppose development are very good at shouting very loudly and can give the impression of a local community being opposed. The reality can be very different.
“Politicians understandably will always want to take into account the public’s view when deciding where they stand on an issue but this research suggests that those who shout the loudest are necessarily speaking in behalf of everyone.
“Newspapers and media will naturally focus on campaign groups when covering planning applications as conflict generates headlines. But decision makers should take account of the silent majority which clearly back the idea of building more social housing.”
Report co-author Robert Tinker said: “It has long been held that social housing is an unpopular area for politicians to dabble in…Our research shows these fears are unjustified.
“People are strongly supportive of new social housing and remain broadly supportive of new social housing even if it will be in their area. There are no public opinion restrictions to action.”
Copies of the report ‘Silent Majority: How the public will support a new wave of social housing” can be downloaded from the Fabian Society.