Ipsos MORI found that 82% of those not renting from a social landlord agree social housing is important because it helps people on lower incomes get access to housing which wouldn’t be affordable in the private rented sector. And by five to one, the public agree rather than disagree that social housing plays an important role in tackling poverty in Britain.
Over half of owner-occupiers and private renters support more social housing being built in their local area, and this despite a gap in perceptions that sees the British public significantly over-estimate the size of the social renting sector across the country.The public perceive social housing to be better than private renting at providing affordable housing, suitable housing for vulnerable people, prompt repairs, and the best sense of community. Relatively few think it better than private renting at offering choice and quality, being child-friendly or providing privacy and peace from neighbours. Overall the public are equally split on which is the best form of renting (36% social renting vs. 35% private renting).
Other findings include:
- The overwhelming majority of the public would still prefer to buy (84%) rather than rent (12%) given the choice.
- Less than half of those not currently renting from a social landlord say they know at least a fair amount about the types of people living in social housing (44%). Three in five (61%) say they know little or nothing about how social housing is allocated to people.
- The public tend to over-estimate the proportion of social tenants who are aged 24 or under, or in some kind of work, while under-estimating the proportion who have a disability or long-term health condition.
- Over half (54%) think it is true that there are more people living in social housing than there were five years ago – the reality is a small increase.
- Four in five (80%) agree social housing should be available to people who cannot afford the cost of renting privately, as well as to the most vulnerable. Three in five (61%) say the negative perception of social housing is unfair, while more disagree than agree that social housing discourages those who rent in this way from improving their personal situation.
- Download the survey topline (PDF)
- Download the computer tables (including social tenants) (PDF)
- Download the computer tables (excluding social tenants) (PDF)
- Download the slides (PDF)
- Download the report (PDF)
- Ipsos MORI interviewed 1,997 GB adults aged 16+ between 24 October and 2 November 2014. Data has been weighted by gender, age, work status, tenure, ethnicity and region to reflect the GB adult population