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#Notasinkestate – your tweets hitting back at the BBC’s reporting

A BBC report stating that tenants of housing associations live on “sink estates” has prompted a strong response from residents and landlords.

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A Metropolitan-owned block in Derby (picture: Beth Watson)
A Metropolitan-owned block in Derby (picture: Beth Watson)

#Notasinkestate – your tweets hitting back at the BBC’s reporting #ukhousing @BBCNews

Residents and landlords respond to BBC report with #notasinkestate #ukhousing @BBCNews

The BBC yesterday published a news report in which it said: “Those who couldn’t afford to buy [their home through Right to Buy] were left in sink estates run by housing associations.”

The reporting as fact that housing association schemes are ‘sink estates’ has angered a lot of social housing tenants and providers, who saw it as the latest example of the media stereotyping and stigmatising of those who rent from social landlords.

Benefit to Society, a campaign that challenges unfair narratives about social housing tenants, and Inside Housing both encouraged you to show how wrong the BBC is by tweeting about your pride in your homes.

You used the hashtags #notasinkestate and #notasinkhole.

Below is a selection of your tweets:

Finally a big shout out to digital storyteller John Popham, who first brought the BBC report to our attention.

Mr Popham complained to the BBC and received a response:


He then made a video showing how angry he was:



Benefit to Society

Benefit to Society

A group of 14 associations and their tenants have got together to challenge common narratives about social housing residents through a campaign called Benefit to Society.

As part of this, the campaign has produced a Fair Press for Tenants guide to help journalists portray social tenants and social housing fairly.

Inside Housing is backing the campaign and will help fact-check and scrutinise articles that portray tenants in a negative light.

Send examples of unfair, misleading or inaccurate reports about social housing tenants to

Our myth-buster website

Our myth-buster website

In 2015 we launched our Housing Myths website to tackle untrue narratives about social housing.

Here are just a few of the myths we busted at the time.

Myth 1: Social housing goes to single mums

Stories about single mothers believed to think the state “owes them a living” are commonplace. Columnists lament the death of ‘respectable families’ living in social housing and blame the ‘points-based’ allocation system, which they says allows single parents to slip ahead in the queue.

How true is this? While it is correct that councils have a legal duty to house homeless families, that does not mean that single mums make up the majority of the country’s housing estates.

According to CORE data (official social housing statistics), only 19% of social lets go to single parents in England.

Having children does not necessarily guarantee that families will receive a social home. Official figures show that at the end of 2014/15, 46,700 families with children or pregnant women were living in temporary accommodation in England.

Myth 2: Everyone receiving housing benefit is unemployed

Despite some of the headlines, the reality for housing benefit recipients is actually very different. An increasing number of working people are having to claim housing benefit to keep up with their rent payments.

According to the 2013/14 English Housing Survey, almost twice the proportion of working households received housing benefit in 2013/14 than in 2008/09.

In 2008/09, 19% of social renters in work received housing benefit, increasing to 32% in 2013/14. For working households in the private rented sector, the proportion increased from 7% to 14% over the same period.

Myth 3: Benefit fraud takes up a large chunk of the welfare bill

In 2013/14, £1.2bn of benefit was lost due to fraud. The total paid out in benefits was £164bn. So benefit fraud made up less than 1% of the overall welfare bill that year.

However, the total amount of cash lost due to fraud will be less than that, as a lot of the money will be recovered by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Myth 4: Immigrants are taking social housing

The idea that large numbers of foreign nationals are taking up social tenancies has been a pervasive message and the tabloid press often calls for stronger curbs.

But are immigrants ‘jumping the queue’ and moving into social housing in their droves? The evidence would suggest not.

According to CORE data, about 90% of social lettings go to UK nationals. Six per cent are let to people inside the European Union and 4% go to those outside the EU.

Visit Housing Myths for more myth-busting

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