A house ‘for life’?

August 10, 2010, 5:13 PM GMT+0

62% of the British public support the Government’s proposal to end council houses ‘for life’ a poll for the Sunday Times has revealed.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps unveiled a number of proposed reforms last Wednesday, which are designed to tackle perceived problems with council housing. They included the introduction of a ‘Freedom Pass’ which would aim to increase housing mobility by allowing tenants to ‘swap’ houses with someone from a different local authority if their needs changed. More controversially, Prime Minister David Cameron has also suggested an end to secure tenancies, which currently allow people to stay in council housing for as long as they wish, even if their personal or economic circumstances change. Instead, the PM has outlined a system through which council tenancy would expire after perhaps five to ten years, subject to the reassessment of the inhabitants concerned.

The proposals have received a mixed response from the press and politicians, including the Deputy Liberal Democrat leader, Simon Hughes, who has warned Cameron that the Liberal Democrats would not accept such a proposal.

And despite the general support behind the suggested scheme, nearly a third of the public agree with Mr Hughes, as 32% oppose the proposals. Labour supporters were least likely to agree with the reforms, with nearly half (47%) opposing.

However, the majority of both Liberal Democrat and Conservative voters (67% and 78% respectively) support Cameron’s plans. Incidentally, the plans are most popular in London and the South (61% and 71% support respectively) compared to just 49% support among those in Scotland.

Survey details and full results

Related story: Views on the Housing Minister's proposals