An interesting debate, although I'm struggling to understand the basis for some of the points being made. Alpha repeatedly says that, "The point of the survey was clearly to allow the DCLG to claim that all social tenants are scroungers", without explaining how this view was reached.
The survey is a survey, and provided it has been done properly it provides us with some "facts". Yes its perfectly true that a Sun or Mail reader might interpret those facts differently from someone who understands the subject, but we can't blame the facts for the ignorance of some of the readers.
Those of us who have to make decisions about policy, or who seek to influence the decisions of policy makers, need to understand not just the facts, but what conditions drive these outcomes. I could suggest for example that less unemployed people access private renting because they lack the financial means to do so. I could also suggest that as social housing has become the option of 'last resort', then it will be mainly occupied by the unemployed. As there are large numbers of bedsits in the private sector it seems likely that these will be mainly occupied by younger people. All these factors make a difference to how we interpret the facts, and without this background knowledge the 'facts' are worthless.
One major issue does jump off the page however. If 62% of social tenants receive housing benefit, then the new regime of 'Affordable (sic) Rents" will increase the cost of those tenancies to the taxpayer 62% of the time. So in two or three years time as the housing benefit bill soars, will people continue blaming the tenants or will we be looking for better policy alternatives?