The success of Homes for Britain

A breakdown of what the Homes for Britain campaign achieved.

When we launched the Homes for Britain campaign at the National Housing Federation’s annual conference, we wanted one thing: to transform the political debate to make housing a central issue for the election.

And guess what? That’s exactly what happened. Here’s a breakdown of what we did with Homes for Britain and what the campaign achieved…

What we did

  • We unified the entire housing sector for the first time. Every major national charity, trade body and umbrella organisation in housing backed the campaign.
  • We put on the biggest housing rally in a generation. An incredible 2,500 people from close to 300 different organisations came to the Homes for Britain rally and we secured spokespeople at cabinet level or above from all five main national parties, the only campaign this election to do so. Now every national party that could lead or form part of the next government has backed the Homes for Britain call.
  • Housing associations mobilised on an unprecedented scale. The Relay to the Rally involved hundreds of housing association staff and tenants from every part of the country, promoting Homes for Britain by walking, cycling and bussing to the Rally in style. They secured campaign coverage in almost every weekly and daily regional paper in England, and most regional broadcasters.
  • We reached millions of voters with our advertising, social media and media coverage. The Homes for Britain Rally achieved wall to wall coverage with an incredible 200 pieces in 24 hours and an editorial in The Sun said: “housing takes centre stage in an election for the first time in decade.” Our social media action days and promoted posts reached millions of people and we ran the biggest advertising campaign housing has ever seen, reaching 26 million people in city centres and key constituencies across England.

What we achieved

  • Housing reached a record high in opinion polls. It’s now ranked as the fourth most important issue facing the country by YouGov, surpassing welfare for the very first time. According to Ipsos MORI, housing is now the 5th most important issue for the public in deciding who to vote for. That’s a transformation from the last election when it sat in 15th place. No issue has increased faster this year as a vote deciding issue.
  • Almost every major newspaper and broadcaster covered the housing crisis in the critical final few weeks before the General Election. The Today Programme described housing as one of the two key issues of the election and, in a sign of just how mainstream it has become, the Sun said "housing takes centre stage in an election for the first time in decades." In March and April alone, we secured more than 1,400 pieces of media coverage, including appearances on BBC Breakfast, BBC News at 6 and 10, Sky, Channel 4 News, almost every national newspaper, broadcaster and many more.
  • All parties have committed to building hundreds of thousands of homes each year of the next parliament in their manifestos, with pledges ranging from 200,000 to 500,000 homes per annum. While we want to see even more ambition, they do reflect a marked shift from the manifestos in 2010 and an acknowledgement that housing is now a vote-swinging issue.
  • Housing featured prominently in the televised Leaders’ Debates. In sharp contrast to 2010, when there was not a single housing question, this year there were long discussions of housing in two of the debates, including the only one to feature all of the main party leaders. In the BBC debate, 15 minutes was dedicated to a discussion on how we end the housing crisis, a major breakthrough for housing.

We have really done it. Every single one of us who’s taken even a single campaign action, from a tweet to a poster to a meeting with a local candidate, should feel incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved. We have transformed the political debate and made housing the issue that politicians are battling over across the political spectrum.

Now we’ve got an even bigger job ahead – to hold the new government to account and ensure they deliver on their promise to end the housing crisis within a generation. Read more about how we’re going to do that.