Understanding and Tolerance Towards Social Housing Please

PUBLISHED: 15:31 22 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:56 04 May 2010

THE outcome of some of your correspondents attitudes to social housing and the less fortunate in East Cambridgeshire will be the creation of isolated, stigmatised and deprived ghettos somewhat like the favelas of Brazil. The main threat to the value of

THE outcome of some of your correspondents' attitudes to social housing and the less fortunate in East Cambridgeshire will be the creation of isolated, stigmatised and deprived ghettos somewhat like the favelas of Brazil. The main threat to the value of houses in our newest estates is not social housing, but prevailing market forces.

The answer to our social problems is not to exclude and stigmatise the less fortunate. Barriers to social mobility are increasingly entrenched. Social housing policy premised on canalising less affluent people into segregated areas will accentuate and perpetuate social and economic inequalities. The effects on the wider community will be immense.

The UK is a small, densely populated country. Increasing numbers of people are on waiting lists for social housing (currently three million and growing). The answer is not to isolate and segregate social housing, but to disperse it in the wider community. Otherwise the UK will increasingly become divided and atomised fuelling resentment, intolerance and discrimination on an unprecedented scale. Levels of deprivation and crime (including violent crime) will increase. The prison population will soar. The socioeconomic costs of this will be huge.

Think carefully about what you wish. This is not a nightmare scenario. It is happening now. The nimby attitudes of the affluent members of our society, who increasingly are pulling up the drawbridge will make it a reality.

Understanding and tolerance should be society's watchwords.

SIMON DUFFEN

New Barns Avenue

Ely

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