Allocating social housing?

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
April 19, 2012, 11:40 AM GMT+0

What should affect a household's eligibility for social housing? 66% say being born outside UK should not be a factor

The British public believes that local links are more important than someone’s country of birth when it comes to allocating social housing, our recent poll for community organisation Metropolitan Migration Foundation has found.

Most people think that when it comes to qualifying for social housing, it shouldn't make a difference if people were born outside the UK if they have lived here for most of their lives.

The poll also showed that two in five Britons think that being unemployed for over nine months shouldn't be a factor in social housing allocation, while almost half of Britons say that a household earning less than the national average should actually be more likely to be considered, as should people with a disability, or with dependents.

  • Two-thirds (66%) said that for someone who has lived in the country for most of their lives, being born outside the UK should either not make a difference (48%) or should actually increase someone’s chances (18%)
  • Only one in five (22%) said that someone should be less eligible if they were born outside of the UK.

46% said if someone has lived locally for more than two years they should be prioritised for housing in that area.

Barbara Roche, Chair of Metropolitan, commented on the poll, saying that "living in the local area and having local ties is seen as a much more important factor than having a ‘birthright’ to social housing. The poll indicates that the public want to be sure social housing is allocated fairly and people should not be discriminated against for not being born in the UK.”

  • 55% of people said that if someone has recently arrived in the UK to live, this should make them less likely to be considered for social housing, while 32% said that this should not be a factor in determining access, and 2% said it should give someone greater priority

Other key findings: household income, unemployment

  • 47% of British people think earning less than the national average household income of £32,779 should make you more likely to be considered for social housing. 24% said it should not make a difference, and 17% believe it should make you less of a priority
  • 40% said that being unemployed for more than nine months should not be taken into account when it comes to social housing. 27% said this should make someone more eligible and 19% said it should make them less eligible
  • 81% felt higher priority should be given to people with a disability; 62% for people with dependents and 47% for households earning less than the average national income

The Metropolitan Migration Foundation, which officially launches today, commissioned the poll to find out what people really think about housing and migration.

The organisation has stated that these poll results will influence its future plans for funding projects that make migration work for both migrants and the communities that they live in. The poll findings are similar across different regions, voting habits and housing tenure.

Director Paul Birtill said: "Too often people shy away from discussing difficult subjects like the impact of migration on social housing. Our poll addresses this issue head on and will form part of our work to help communities come together so they can talk about their concerns in a healthy and open way.”

This poll is part of a wider piece of research into public opinions about migration, housing and communities which will be released over the coming months.

See the survey details and full results here