Majority of voters back borrowing over the next year to build council homes

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More than half of the population are in favour of borrowing more in the next year to build more council houses and create jobs in the construction sector, according to the latest LabourList/Survation polling. 55.4% of the public would support such a plan, with only 22.5% opposed.

Such an investment in housing infrastructure to alleviate Britain’s housing crisis and provide jobs is the favoured option of voters from all major parties, across all age groups, genders, social and economic classes and regions/nations of the UK. 73.9% of Labour supporters would back such a course of action, as would 47.7% of Tories, 55% of Lib Dems and 43.2% of UKIPers.

This is the penultimate question in a set of polling data which we’ve been revealing each day this week on LabourList, as we seek to find a way towards “Securing Economic Credibility” for the party in a way that is also true to Labour values and electorally viable.

securing economic recovery housing

What is particularly interesting about this polling is the difference with what we revealed yesterday. Whilst nearly half of the population told us that they favoured higher borrowing in exchange for investment in growth and jobs, far more people supported such a plan when the kind of spending – in this case on housing – was made clear. In government Labour were able to make the case for higher National Insurance to fund the NHS, and this form of hypothecated spending pledge could be a template for how Labour acts in government – including people in the debate about how their money should be spent.

Whilst yesterday the majority of Tory supporters were against borrowing more money to fund jobs and growth, today a plan to borrow for investment in housing has a lead of nearly 17 points amongst Tory voters over the alternative (keeping borrowing down) – suggesting that this is a plan that shouldn’t be limited to Labour’s policy thinking, it could work for the Tories too, if they were minded to borrow for homes and growth, rather than borrowing as a result of strategic failure…

One final point – normally when questions are asked about housing, they revolve either around house-building as a whole or “affordable” housing. We wanted to be very clear that what we were talking about in this survey is “council housing” – built, owned and run by local authorities to serve the needs of local people. This may have depressed the numbers supporting it somewhat, but there’s still a clear plurality of voters in favour of building more council homes – and it’s a policy that resonates across the country, and across party lines.

What are you waiting for Mr Cameron? Build more homes. And if you won’t – Mr Miliband will need to…

Survation interviewed 1,121 adults aged 18 and over via online panel on May 24th 2013. The results have been weighted to the profile of all adults, and the data for the question referred to in this post can be found here

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