Three reasons you should engage with your local candidates in the pre-election period

Housing associations should not wait to engage with the next cohort of decision-makers.

Livi Elsmore is a Public Affairs Officer at the National Housing Federation

Livi Elsmore is a Public Affairs Officer at the National Housing Federation

22 November 2019

Here are three reasons you should join us in our campaign to #FixTheHousingCrisis for good.

1. Politicians that interact with housing associations tend to like them more

Cast your mind back to 2014. While it is strange to recall a time where Brexit was not the defining issue of the day, 2014 had its own political challenges. To help inform our response to these, the Federation commissioned research to better understand politicians’ perceptions of housing associations.

The headline finding was that, on both sides of the political spectrum, MPs who interact most with housing associations tend to like them more. This rule holds true despite any difficulties in the relationship.

Proactively telling our story works, and MPs’ offices will be a key point of contact in the next Parliament – so it is on us to engage with the people that will soon be political decision-makers.

2. Our collective voice is powerful

Our report from this year’s Party Conference season highlighted the benefits gained by speaking with one voice. We have seen first-hand that the sector is most influential when we harness our collective power, and this is never more relevant than during a general election period.

In highly polarised political times, an election is a key moment for finding the people with political power in listening mode.

In an era dominated by a single issue (Brexit), securing cut through is challenging, but by unifying our message we stand the greatest chance of the next government hearing our call to #FixTheHousingCrisis.

3. There will be lots of new MPs, and lots of new opportunities

Regardless of the overall election outcome, the 2019 cohort of new MPs will be significant in number and influence, because a large number of MPs are stepping down from safe seats. Constituencies long-held by veteran MPs will soon have new representatives.

This presents a prime influencing opportunity. You will want to ensure that your organisation is at the front of the queue after 13 December to inform perspectives on local housing issues.

MPs appreciate the time taken to engage on the campaign trail, and so will be more likely to be receptive when your organisation gets in touch about specific issues down the line, referencing your earlier discussions. 

What happens if you engage with a candidate who is then not elected? Well, this is not necessarily the end of the story. Many candidates will stand for their Party again, in the same seat or elsewhere, so the relationships we form with them today stand us in good stead for the future.

Get involved in our #FixTheHousingCrisis campaign

It is not too late to organise candidate visits and call on our future MPs to #FixTheHousingCrisis for good. Explore our general election toolkit for more information, including template invitations and campaign boards, and get in touch with the Federation’s Public Affairs team if you have any questions.

From 25 to 29 November we’re coordinating a week of action that will put social housing in the spotlight. You can support our week of action by:

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