Shelter Scotland slams UK minister over cuts


by Rona Mackay

Housing charity Shelter Scotland has accused the UK minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud of not understanding the impact housing benefit cuts will have on homeless people in Scotland.

Shelter Scotland claims that by ignoring the fact that increasing numbers of people in Scotland are entitled to permanent accommodation, Lord Freud fails to address the negative impact of the proposed reforms.

The criticism follows a letter from Lord Freud in response to a Scottish Government report – backed by the charity and other welfare campaigners – in which he ignores the negative impact of his reforms on 10 years of progressive homelessness legislation in Scotland.

The charity says the cuts to housing benefit will make it impossible for low income families to pay rent and undermine progress to the internationally-acclaimed 2012 commitment on homelessness.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “This is completely unacceptable from a UK Government minister who has failed to grasp the very real difference between Scotland and England in housing policy.

“While Scotland has been extending rights, the direction of travel in England has been to reduce the number of people entitled to help.

“If these changes go through, they will undermine almost a decade of improvement in services to homeless people in Scotland.  Worryingly, the minister appears not to understand what is happening in Scotland.”