David Blackburn

Opposing social housing reform looks like a marginal issue

Opposing social housing reform looks like a marginal issue
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The Sunday Times YouGov poll (£) contains some statistics that will warm Cameron’s cockles.

‘The poll also backs the idea, floated by the prime minister last week, that new tenants in council and social housing should have a limited term of five or 10 years before they have to make way for others if their circumstances have changed.

The proposal, criticised by Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat deputy leader, is supported by 62% and opposed by 32%.

Even among Liberal Democrat supporters there is strong support for the idea, by 67% to 26%. Tory supporters overwhelmingly back it, by 78% to 18%. Labour voters are only narrowly in favour, by 48% to 47%.’

The figures for Liberal Democrat and Labour support are surprising. As Pete noted yesterday, the current social housing debate is a proxy for deeper issues such as affordable private housing and social mobility. But it is scarcely credible not to examine housing allocation when 5 million are on a waiting list which has doubled under the previous government. Cost amid cuts is also a factor. As Grant Shapps put it today:

‘When you're investing billions it's worth having a conversation.’ 

Simon Hughes has misjudged the public mood.