News & Stories

Getting Election Ready

23 April 2024

Allister Young CE Coastline head and shoulders crop

Allister Young, Chief Executive

Coastline Housing

It’s a funny General Election coming up this year. I’ve heard people say that there’s not much to choose between the policies the two main parties set out across a range of areas. And that therefore it’s not that important to get involved in the election process as it doesn’t matter that much who wins.

I don’t agree with that conclusion. Yes, we’re in a position where both the main parties now talk positively about the need for housing, talk positively about social housing, and even talk positively about the work many housing associations do.

But even if the policies are similar (and I suspect in practice there will be more differences than we currently see), the people involved in government will be different. That’s certainly true if there’s a change in which party forms the government, but with 96 MPs (so far) having announced they will not be standing for re-lection, it’s true regardless of who wins.

That makes it essential that we reach out to engage with those people that are taking the brave step to stand for election as an MP, to represent the people that live in the homes we provide, in the constituencies where we work.

It’s a big job they’re putting themselves forward for, and in the run up to the general election the candidates will have lots of people trying to get their attention, to persuade them of the importance of their goals. If we don’t do the same, we run the risk of being side-lined. And if we let ourselves get side-lined, we’ll be letting down our current and future customers, who need us to be campaigning for the importance of place-based social housing.

So, if as PlaceShapers members we think place-based social housing is important, if we think that there is something distinctive about how members approach our work, if we think that message needs to be heard by potential MPs, it’s on us to make sure that happens.

And that’s where the Getting Election Ready toolkit can come in useful. It’s been designed by PlaceShapers members to help all of us to engage with parliamentary candidates up and down the country.

It sets out the value we bring as place-based housing associations in a consistent way that will resonate with candidates, not least that we know our residents, communities, neighbourhoods and partners. We stand ready to work with the next government to lead a new wave of regeneration across the country that can transform our homes, the environment, public realm, and the health of our residents.

The economic impact of building new homes is now well-evidenced, but we’ve yet to see the change that will make this a reality, which is why we also support the call for the next government to bring forward a long-term plan to fix the housing crisis.

At Coastline Housing, we’ll be using the toolkit to help us formulate a communication strategy which we will use to highlight the importance of place-based housing, and to put forward the case for the changes we, and our customers, need to see to secure a better future.

With members up and down the country doing the same, our collective voice will be amplified, and we have a better chance of delivering positive change we want to see for our communities.

Access PlaceShapers General Election toolkit.