Posted on July 10, 2008

Quarter of White People Expect Discrimination

Crispin Dowler, Inside Housing (London), July 4, 2008

A quarter of all white people now expect to be racially discriminated against by social landlords, new government figures have shown.

The proportion feeling unfairly treated by housing professionals has risen sharply in the past seven years—from 15 per cent in 2001 to 25 per cent in 2007/08.

Over the same period, the proportion of minority ethnic people who expected discrimination in housing dropped 2 per cent to 11 per cent, the Communities and Local Government department’s latest citizenship survey has shown.

A CLG spokesperson said that there was ‘no evidence to suggest that social housing allocation favours any one group over another—including UK born nationals’.

She added: ‘What this survey highlights is that there is a problem of perception. We will be looking in the housing green paper towards the end of this year at how we can improve transparency in the housing allocations process and ensure that it is not only fair but also seen to be fair.’

The survey figures track the percentages of people who expect racial discrimination from schools, doctors, housing, and the criminal justice system.

In almost all areas tracked since 2001, people’s expectations of discrimination have reduced or remained static. For example, the proportion of minority ethnic people who expect police prejudice has dropped from 27 per cent to 22 per cent.

Only white people’s expectations of housing discrimination have sharply increased—dragging the proportion of white people who expect discrimination from any of the services tracked from 20 per cent in 2001 to 29 per cent.

Nick Johnson, director of policy at Coventry University’s Institute for Community Cohesion, said the spike was partly due to an increase in scare stories from the media, the British National Party, and others.

But it also reflected the shortage of social housing and the increase in waiting times, which made people more receptive to these arguments. He added: ‘I think local authorities, housing associations and others need to be better at doing the myth-busting . . . and some are reluctant to do that.’