General Election 2015: Housing soars as one of top issues for voters

 
Guy Bentley
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Housing climbs the political agenda (Source: Getty)

Housing is racing up the voters' list of concerns as we head toward the General Election, according to pollster Ipsos Mori.

A few years ago, rapidly rising house prices and getting on the property ladder were mainly seen as issues concerning London and the South East. However, as prices rise across the country housing is becoming a key battleground for all political parties.

Around this time in 2010, just five per cent of voters ranked housing as among the most important issues facing the country. Ipsos Mori's latest Issues Index shows that number has almost tripled to 14 per cent. Last year, housing hit 15 per cent twice.

Should Labour win the next election, Ed Miliband has promised up 200,000 new homes will be built every year to help alleviate pressures on the current stock.

George Osborne has long seen housing policy as a potential vote winner as well as important public policy. The chancellor generated much controversy with his original Help to Buy policy. Experts criticised the scheme as an attempt to tackle a supply side problem with a demand-side solution, which could lead to an even greater rise in prices.

The Budget this week saw Osborne reveal yet another scheme to help first time buyers. The new Help to Buy Isa will involve every £200 saved by first-time buyers, being topped up by the taxpayer to the tune of £50.
Those who manage to save up £12,000 would benefit to the tune of £3,000 towards their new home.

While compared to other national issues such as the economy and the NHS housing may still lag behind in voters' mind as they come to make a decision in May, London will probably remain the exception.

Writing in 24dash.com, Ben Marshall, research director at Ipsos Mori said:

We have found it to be a top-order issue in London – a key electoral battleground and one Boris Johnson this week urged fellow Conservatives not to give up on.

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