In this section:

Two thirds of “New Conservatives” say social housing should be a government priority 09/12/2021 Labelled as Legislation

A new report by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) highlights the result of a nationally representative poll of 5,000 English adults which revealed that "New Conservatives" - those whose votes underpinned Boris Johnson's electoral majority in 2019 and are expected to be a key determinant of the next election - is highly supportive of government intervention in low-cost rented housebuilding with two-thirds of New Conservative voters (67 per cent) saying that social housing should be made a government priority.


The foreword to the CSJ's report is written by former Prime Minister Theresa May in which she calls on Boris Johnson's government to build social homes by invoking the Conservative's historical affiliation with municipal housing from Winston Churchill through to Margaret Thatcher.


Although the Conservative Party is now seen as the party of homeownership but, from the 1940s-70s, they were just as sold on the importance of seeing housing as infrastructure and building council homes accordingly.


The research also found that:


  • a quarter of the English population said they found it either fairly or very difficult to pay their housing costs, this rising to 43 per cent of private renters;
  • 60 per cent said they think the housing crisis has worsened 'significantly' due to the pandemic;
  • less than one in four people (24 per cent) believe the Government's definition of affordable housing is truly affordable to local people;
  • just under two thirds (63 per cent) believe the Government needs to supply low-cost homes to rent to end the housing crisis;
  • 55 per cent said building social housing should be a priority of the Government;
  • 58 per cent said building more low-cost homes to rent would 'level up' the country;
  • 55 per cent of people said 'affordability' should be the primary aim of housing policy, while 11 percent said 'eventual ownership'; and
  • across all segments uncovered in the analysis, agreement outweighs disagreement that 'a robust social housing scheme reduces the strain on health and social services' - with strong majority support in most segments.


In short, the research suggests that there is no simple "left-right" divide in England on what is known today as 'social housing', following the seismic realignments in political affiliation seen in recent years.


The report suggests this presents a major opportunity for the Government to reset the agenda on truly affordable housing and address the social, economic and fiscal problems associated with the hidden housing crisis - with considerable public support.


Given the scale of disillusionment over current 'affordable housing' policy also revealed in the polling, the CSJ report recommend the Government initiates a process of rapid evidence gathering to reshape social and affordable housing policy in the 2020s, with the publication of the forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper.


A copy of the full report entitled "Exposing the hidden housing crisis: Public attitudes to 'affordable housing' and housing policy" is available on the CSJ website

The findings of this report underpin the case for investment in social housing made in the recent report "Building post-pandemic prosperity" commissioned by ARCH, the Local Government Association and the National Federation of Housing.

Like emailLink
ARCH Member Comments 2 people like this