70% think politicians don't care about affordable housing in rural areas

15th Jan 2015

Poll commissioned by CPRE and Hastoe finds dearth of rural affordable housing, and that nearly 70 per cent of public do not think that politicians care about affordable housing in rural areas. Only one in 25 believes general election will have a positive impact on rural communities

The UK public have little faith in Westminster to deliver positive change for people living in rural communities, according to a YouGov survey published today by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and leading rural housing association Hastoe [1].

Just 4%, or one in 25, think that May’s general election will have a positive effect on people living in rural communities; almost half of the 2,110 respondents thought that the election would have no impact.

The survey also reinforced recent government and industry research suggesting a dearth of affordable homes in rural areas and that, on average, rural housing costs 11 times annual rural wages [2]. 59 per cent of respondents who lived in rural areas stated that there was a lack of affordable homes in their communities. Furthermore, two thirds of rural-based respondents, and two thirds of all respondents, did not think that politicians care about the issue of providing affordable housing in rural areas.

The survey sought the public’s views on solutions for increasing rural affordable housing. The most popular option was an increase in public funding, while more than a quarter of respondents - 28 per cent - also saw greater community engagement as central to any significant solutions [3].

The survey was commissioned by CPRE and Hastoe to support an event in parliament on Tuesday 13 January to launch a partnership between the two organisations. This event will bring together spokespeople from major parties to discuss methods to increase affordable housing in rural areas. The speakers are: Stephen Williams MP (Lib Dem), parliamentary under-secretary of state for communities and local government; Emma Reynolds MP (Labour), shadow housing minister; Neil Parish MP (Conservative); and Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party [4].

Shaun Spiers, chief executive at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), comments: “Housing is increasingly unaffordable in many English villages, and building lots of market housing won’t change that. We need well-planned, high quality social housing that fits in with the village and provides homes for those living or working in the community.

Whoever is elected in May must do much more to subsidise social housing and ensure that appropriate sites are available. The alternative is to see villages become exclusively the preserve of well-off home workers, rather than living, mixed communities.”

Sue Chalkley, chief executive at the Hastoe Group, comments: “These results underline the messages that we are getting from rural communities all the time. They recognise the link between the lack of affordable homes, the difficulty their children are having in finding an affordable home and the social and economic viability of their village.  It is vital for developers to work in partnership with local people to build beautiful and energy efficient homes that are a legacy to the community and a source of pride. 

“CPRE and Hastoe are keen to do what we can to ensure rural communities have the right kind of homes to protect their future and that of generations to come.



[1] The YouGov poll was commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Hastoe Housing Association. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,110 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 09 - 12th January 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). Further breakdowns of the results are available on request.

[2] Last year it was also shown that the annual supply of affordable homes is 22,000 fewer than the estimated need. Figures obtained from: Commission for Rural Communities, 2006, Calculating Housing Needs in Rural England; Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 2013, Living in Rural Areas: Housing; National Housing Federation, 2014, Want to buy a house in the country?

[3] Respondents were invited to select from a number of solutions to improve housing provision in rural communities. They could choose more than one option. The options offered were: increased public funding for affordable housing provision; reduced planning requirements to remove potential barriers for developers; increased local community engagement (e.g. on location, design of new housing in the area etc.); policy initiatives to increase the speed of housing delivery after the granting of planning permission; other; don't know; not applicable - I don't think anything could improve housing provision in rural communities/ housing provision needs improving in rural communities.

[4] If you would like to attend this event then please contact the press officers noted below.

If you would like to discuss the survey findings or event in more detail then please contact Benjamin Halfpenny at CPRE on 020 7981 2819 / benjaminh@cpre.org.uk, or Tom Hall at Hastoe Group on 020 8973 0437 / tchall@hastoe.com.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) fights for a better future for the English countryside. We work locally and nationally to protect, shape and enhance a beautiful, thriving countryside for everyone to value and enjoy. Our members are united in their love for England’s landscapes and rural communities, and stand up for the countryside, so it can continue to sustain, enchant and inspire future generations. Founded in 1926, President: Sir Andrew Motion, Patron: Her Majesty The Queen. www.cpre.org.uk