CIH president attacks IDS over homeless slur
The new president of the Chartered Institute of Housing has criticised the work and pensions secretary for creating confusion around the definition of homelessness, in his debut speech.
Speaking at the CIH Scotland presidential dinner, Robin Lawler said Iain Duncan Smith had accused housing charities of ‘over-egging the scale of the problem so that benefit changes could be viewed as disproportionate’.
Earlier this month, Mr Duncan Smith said families on benefits were regarded as homeless if two children had to share a bedroom. The legal definition of homelessness is a person who has no accommodation that they are entitled to occupy.
Mr Lawler said: ‘How disappointing that after nearly two decades of legislation that clearly defines homelessness, a minister should (intentionally or otherwise) create unnecessary confusion and ultimately deflect from the real issue - which is the significant impact that the changes will make to thousands of households in Scotland.’
He added that benefit changes which the government is enforcing through the Welfare Reform Bill ‘risk undermining a decade of work’ in Scotland.
He warned 2012 would be an ‘even more difficult year’.