National survey shows sizeable shift in attitudes towards social housing

Overall, 41% of respondents “feel comfortable” living next to social housing, 24% “uncomfortable” and 31% “neither comfortable nor uncomfortable”.

Social-Housing---SS

 

A sizeable shift in attitudes toward social housing is shown in the latest The British Social Attitudes Survey (BSAS)  with more respondents saying they would be comfortable living next to social housing than uncomfortable.

The survey is designed to yield a representative survey of adults (aged 18+) in Britain.

But while the Survey covers England, Scotland and Wales, the report released by MHCLG presents data for England only featuring findings relating to public attitudes to social housing as measured by BSAS last year.

Analysis was carried out by MHCLG that commissioned NatCen to develop and include three questions on social housing covering public attitudes, fairness of allocation decisions and social social tenant engagement.

Releasing the results, MHCLG acknowledges it is not possible to directly attribute change in attitudes to government policy given the broad range of factors which might shape attitudes.

However, MHCLG maintains the findings give context and are “helpful” for monitoring changing public attitudes over the time.

Expressed in overall percentages, 41% of respondents reported that they would feel comfortable living next to social housing, 24% that they would feel uncomfortable and 31% that they would feel neither comfortable nor uncomfortable.

Owner occupiers were the are the most likely to say they would feel uncomfortable living next to social housing, with social renters the least likely. 

By percentage, that breaks down to 30% of owner occupiers, 73% of social renters and 46% of private renters.

While 4% of social renters and 21% of private renters reported they would feel uncomfortable living next to social housing, this percentage was higher for owner occupiers (31%).

Other key findings by category were:

  • Younger people are more likely to report they would feel comfortable living next to social housing than older people

Just over half (53%) of those aged 18-25 reported that they would feel comfortable living next to social housing, a higher proportion than those aged 36-45 (40%), 46-55 (37%), 56-65 (35%), and 66 and over (38%).

  • People with a long-term illness or disability are more likely to say they would feel comfortable living next to social housing than those without a long-term illness or disability 

While 47% of people with a long-term physical or mental health illness or disability reported they would feel comfortable living next to social housing, only 37% of those without a long-term illness or disability reported the same.

  • People in work or waiting to take up work are more likely to report they would feel uncomfortable living next to social housing than those who are unemployed

27% of those who were in work and 26% of those waiting to take up work reported that they would feel uncomfortable living next to social housing, compared to 7% of those who were unemployed. 

  • People with lower monthly household incomes are more likely to report they would feel comfortable living next to social housing than those with higher incomes

A higher proportion of those earning less than £1,411 per month (50%) and those earning £1,411- £2,560 per month (50%) reported that they would feel comfortable living next to social housing than those earning £2,561- £4,350 per month (36%) and £4,351 or more per month (33%).

  • Overall more people think that decisions about social housing allocations tend to be unfair than fair

While 34% of people thought decisions about social housing allocations tend to be unfair, 23% thought decisions tend to be fair and 24% thought decisions about social housing allocations are neither fair nor unfair.

  • People who think decisions about social housing allocations tend to be fair are more likely to say they would feel comfortable living next to social housing than people who think decisions about social housing allocations tend to be unfair

Amongst those who thought decisions about social housing allocations tend to be fair, 59% said they would feel comfortable living next to social housing.

On the other hand, amongst those who thought decisions about social housing allocations are unfair, 39% said they would feel comfortable living next to social housing.

  • Social renters are the most likely to think that decisions about social housing allocations tend to be fair

Amongst social renters, 36% thought decisions about social housing allocations tend to be fair, compared to 21% of private renters and 20% of owner occupiers.

  • Private renters are more likely to think decisions about social housing allocations tend to be unfair than owner occupiers

40% of private renters thought decisions about social housing allocations tend to be unfair, compared to 32% of owner occupiers. Amongst social renters, 33% thought decisions about social housing allocations tend to be unfair.

  • People with a long-term illness or disability are more likely to think that decisions about social housing allocations tend to be unfair than those without a long-term illness or disability

While 40% of those with a long-term physical or mental health illness or disability thought that decisions about social housing allocations tend to be unfair, this percentage was 30% for those without a long-term illness or disability.

  • People with lower monthly household incomes are more likely to think decisions about social housing allocations tend to be fair than those with higher monthly household incomes

Of people earning less than £1,411 per month, 31% thought decisions about social housing allocations tend to be fair.

In comparison, 23% of people earning £1,411- £2,560 per month, 21% of those earning £2,561- £4,350 per month, and 20% earning £4,351 or more per month thought decisions about social housing allocations tend to be fair.

  • Social tenants’ engagement with activities in relation to their housing is limited, with most social renters reporting that they had not taken any action over the last 12 months

About two thirds (65%) of social tenants reported they hadn’t taken any action in relation to their housing in the last twelve months.

The most common action taken by people was contacting their landlord in other ways (26%); whilst 7% had attended meetings with their landlord and 7% had responded to an online or written questionnaire from their landlord.

The British Social Attitudes Survey has been run annually by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) since 1983 – with the exception of 1988 and 1992 when its core funding was used to fund the British Election Study series.

A variety of funders, including government departments, grant-giving bodies, other foundations and universities support the survey, enabling it to cover a wide range of social, economic, political and moral issues.

Questions are designed to be relevant to policy debates, and also to be repeated at regular intervals.

The survey uses a methodology replicated each year meaning changes in attitudes can be reliably compared between years, although observed changes may not always be significant.

Fieldwork for the survey involves two parts – the face-to-face interview and the self-completion questionnaire, with respondents aged 18 or over living in households in Great Britain.

The fieldwork in 2018 took place between July and November.

 

 

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