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Survey Reveals Thoughts on Housing Policies

House Network

As the General Election draws ever closer, the outcome remains uncertain, with various polls finding it hard to separate the main parties. As Britain prepares to go to the polls on May 7th, housing concerns remain, with many young voters in particular wondering whether a new Government could help them find a permanent home or help them pay their rent. To find out how the public feel about the proposals of different political parties, we conducted a survey which received over 551 responses. Here are the results.

Public Thoughts on the State of British Housing

Of our 552 respondents, 300 either agreed or strongly agreed that housing would be one of the biggest issues at the General Election; with only 151 disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with the statement. With such an agreement that housing will be important to some degree, we thought we would delve a little deeper…

In terms of party alignment, no party had majority support of the public with their housing strategy. However, with 209 votes, the Conservative Party came out on top, followed by the Labour Party with 129. Interestingly, the Liberal Democrats, a current party of Government, came joint last alongside the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), with both parties receiving 34 votes. 

Which Party do you believe has the best housing strategy?
The Conservative Party 209 37.9%
The Labour Party 129 23.4%
The Liberal Democrats 34 6.2%
The Green Party 61 11.0%
The United Kingdom Independence Party 34 6.1%
Other 85 15.4%

Chart 1: 552 participants responded to this question

From the survey respondents, it also appears clear that there is a large amount of support for the Chartered Institute for Housing’s claim that there is a national housing crisis. Overall, 366 people agree with this statement to some degree, while only 112 disagree. Noticeably, only 12 people disagree strongly, while 97 agree strongly.

It is worth noting that 67% of MPs also agree with this claim, and the members of the public we surveyed think it is relevant to both buying and letting. 387 of our respondents felt that the Government must do more to help buyers afford their first home, with the average deposit now standing at £30,000. Only 117 disagreed, while a further 48 didn’t know.

With regard to renting, current statistics show that private renters now spend 40% of their income on housing costs. 405 of the people we surveyed felt that this was too high, causing housing to become unaffordable, with only 81 disagreeing. 

Private renters now spend 40% of their income on housing costs, this is too high and housing has become unaffordable.
Strongly Disagree 11 2.0%
Disagree 70 12.7%
Don’t Know 66 12.0%
Agree 260 47.1%
Strongly Agree 145 26.2%

Chart 2: 552 participants responded to this question

In answers to all of these above questions, respondents have made it clear that the current status quo is unaffordable. However, in order to help, we lifted policies straight from manifestos in order to see which had the greatest level of public support within our survey group.

With regard to Labour’s proposal to introduce a ‘mansion tax’ on properties worth more than £2 million, it appears as though there is public support, with 144 of our respondents agreeing strongly with the policy. Overall, 331 respondents agreed to some extent, in comparison to only 146 disagreeing, which is more than double. 

A future Government should introduce a mansion tax for owners of £2m+ properties.
Strongly Disagree 57 10.5%
Disagree 89 16.4%
Don’t Know 66 12.2%
Agree 187 34.4%
Strongly Agree 144 26.5%

Chart 3: 543 participants responded to this question

In addition to this, The Labour Party also seems to have strong support for their pledge to abolish the ‘bedroom tax’. 285 of our respondents agreed that a future government should abolish it, compared to only 160 who felt that it should stay. When probed further, only 109 respondents felt that the policy had been effective in comparison with 256 respondents who felt that it had been ineffective. 

A future government should abolish the Bedroom Tax.
Strongly Disagree 48 8.8%
Disagree 112 20.6%
Don’t Know 98 18.0%
Agree 168 31.0%
Strongly Agree 117 21.6%

Chart 4: 543 participants responded to this question

Finally for the Labour Party, there was also broad support for their pledge to build 200,000 homes a year by 2020; however, 166 people confessed that they did not know whether such a policy was a good idea. Overall, 246 people agreed with the policy to some extent, but 131 people disagreed. When this number is added to the people who didn’t know, 297 people didn’t respond that they agreed with the policy. 

A future Government should build 200,000 homes a year by 2020.
Strongly Disagree 38 7.0%
Disagree 93 17.1%
Don’t Know 166 30.6%
Agree 178 32.8%
Strongly Agree 68 12.5%

Chart 5: 543 participants responded to this question

If you’re interested in analysing the Labour Party’s housing policy in further detail, you can view their manifesto in full here.

With the Conservative Party coming out on top in our poll of parties with the best policies, it is perhaps unsurprising that many of their policies also had a large amount of support. 327 respondents agreed with their Help-to-Buy ISA to some extent, with only 56 disagreeing. 

The Government’s Help-to-Buy ISA unveiled in the latest budget is a good idea
Strongly Disagree 28 5.2%
Disagree 48 9.0%
Don’t Know 135 25.1%
Agree 273 50.7%
Strongly Agree 54 10.0%

Chart 6: 538 participants responded to this question

Further support for Conservative politics can be found through the fact that there was comprehensive support for their policy to bring forward more brownfield land for development. Only 45 respondents disagreed that a future government should act on such a policy, with 389 thinking that it was a good idea to use brownfield land in order to preserve greenfield land. 

A future Government should bring forward more brownfield land for development.
Strongly Disagree 9 1.6%
Disagree 36 6.9%
Don’t Know 104 19.3%
Agree 281 52.2%
Strongly Agree 108 20.0%

Chart 7: 538 participants responded to this question

However, much like the Labour Party’s policies, Conservative Party manifesto pledges were also not universally loved. For instance, the vast majority of our respondents (249) said they didn’t know whether a future government should build garden towns such as the one at Bicester. 

A future Government should support a new garden town at Bicester to provide up to 13,000 new homes (subject to value for money).
Strongly Disagree 18 3.3%
Disagree 59 11.0%
Don’t Know 249 46.3%
Agree 181 33.6%
Strongly Agree 31 5.8%

Chart 8: 543 participants responded to this question

If you’re interested in finding out more about the housing policies of any of the main parties, then you can download PDF versions of their manifestos at the following links:

The Conservative Party

The Labour Party

The Liberal Democrats

The United Kingdom Independence Party

The Green Party