The future of the left since 1884

Home Truths: How to change attitudes to housing benefit

This research confirms that the public politics of housing benefit is complicated and dominated by negative attitudes towards claimants. But the research also demonstrates ways in which a more nuanced and positive debate can be fostered. This more positive debate is crucial for the fight against homelessness and poverty in the coming years.


Protecting social security is central to many of the progressive ends dear to campaigners: poverty prevention and alleviation; collective insurance against bad luck; providing support for young, elderly and disabled people. But the public politics of social security have grown increasingly toxic, leaving those who wish to see it sustained unsure how to talk about it to an ever more hostile public.

Home Truths examines new public attitudes research from the Fabian Society into an area of social security where politics are perhaps the most challenging: housing benefit. The research confirms that antipathy towards housing benefit is deeply ingrained and finds that politicians and campaigners must understand that facts in and of themselves will not change hearts and minds, but stories and emotions do.

To rebuild faith in our social security system, discussion about housing benefit will need to be placed in a wider conversation about what causes poverty in the UK, how it can be tackled over the long term and the collective choice we have to fight it.

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Natan Doron

Natan Doron is a former senior researcher at the Fabian Society.


Robert Tinker

Robert Tinker was senior researcher at the Fabian Society until August 2015. His research covers a number of areas, including public finance and economic issues, poverty and inequality and public services.

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