Government Minister attacked for his stance on social housing

Social housing supporters have hit back at a speech by Works and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith at the Conservative Party Conference last week.

In his speech to the party faithful, the minister asserted that social housing no longer supported the bedrock of family life and that the Welfare System was abused by many of those claiming money from the state. He went to say the present Government would do all it could to get rid of the “something for nothing culture”, and said it was important that the Work Programme introduced by the Government a few months ago, whereby unemployed people get the chance to learn new skills via builders, housing associations and ancillary trades, is given better support by those with an interest in landlord insurance.

Mr Duncan Smith told the conference many social housing projects have lost their way saying: “Pockets in which social housing, once a support for families working hard to give their children something better, has too often become a place of intergenerational worklessness, hopelessness and dependency.”

The speech was not welcomed everywhere and Ms Rhian Benyon, Head of Policy and Campaigns at charity Family Action, said the current policies, put into action by Mr Duncan Smith, were hurting families all over the UK and went on to say: “If the Secretary of State is serious about turning round entrenched family breakdown, the Government must support the most vulnerable families through these tough times with better services and improved benefit levels rather than slashing them to the bone.”

Housing Association bosses were not pleased either; they said the reason why housing associations had not taken the Work Programme up more enthusiastically was because of funding and contractual problems that need to be worked out by Mr Duncan Smith’s department.

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