Social housing cuts: Your views

20/10/10

Dave Marsden

It's emerged that the social housing budget in England is set to be cut by more than half as part of the government's spending review.

Eight million people live in what's called social housing. They're in flats or houses that they pay less than the market rent for.

Another five million are on waiting lists for social housing.

It's understood new council tenants won't get a house for life.

But despite the cuts, ministers are likely to set a target of building 150,000 affordable homes, changing the way councils charge rent to finance them.

Newsbeat's been to Dagenham, which has the largest area of council housing in the country.

Sian Preston, 22, single mum of four

Sian Preston
Image caption Sian thinks a council house should be yours for life

"I have four kids and I live in a two-bedroom council house which we waited about two to three years for.

"I like it but it is quite small so it still feels overcrowded with my four children, they're running around and there's no space for them to play with their toys.

"We'd like to upgrade but the wait will be too long.

"I think a council house should be yours for life because if you've got young kids like me you don't want to uproot them every few years and be forced out to another area.

"You also don't want the threat of being made homeless because you can't afford to go private.

"I know cuts need to be made but don't target a young mum like me."

Toni-Louise Shepherd, 22, mum of one

Toni-Louise Shepherd
Image caption Toni-Louise says it's tough to afford a house when you're just starting out

"Me and my partner currently stay with family and it's a bit of a nightmare.

"We don't claim benefits and are both on low incomes.

"Paying full rent, a full deposit and full council tax when we're starting out is tough and we need a bit of help which is why we want to go on the council list.

"My friends just say, 'Stop working and claim benefits', but I don't want to do that.

"If people are working, earning as much as they can and still can't afford the property then they need then a council place.

"But for those seeking benefits, some of them don't want to help themselves and I think it's unfair they get a place for life."

Katie Owens, 19, trainee hairdresser

Katie Owens
Image caption Katie says if the council put up the rent on her flat she'd be in trouble

"I moved into my council flat two weeks ago with my boyfriend.

"If the government was to put the rent up for council flats to save money elsewhere, then I wouldn't be able to afford it.

"I already pay £83 a week for a one bedroom flat in Dagenham. I work two jobs and just about afford it.

"I am happy there but I wouldn't want it for life. I do want a house eventually that's mine, not just the council's."

Dave Marsden, 30, pet shop owner

Dave Marsden with a dragon lizard
Image caption Dave is frustrated at girls who he says get pregnant just to get a house

"We own our own place and pay the mortgage.

"If people are genuinely disabled or can't pay their way then they deserve a council house.

"But we know some people who have babies just to have council houses.

"All the young girls say, 'I'm getting pregnant, I'll get a council house quicker than someone who's not'.

"It's those people who get you frustrated because I'm paying for it.

"I think they should get more people paying higher amounts for their council places."