Seven in ten of Scotland’s councillors do not support the scale of the UK government’s housing benefit cuts and 79% think there will be significant knock-on costs to councils, a new survey for Shelter Scotland has revealed.
The survey also revealed that 62% expect the changes to cause an increase in homelessness and 72% say their councils don’t have enough resources to cope with the expected extra strain on public services.
An overwhelming 82% of councillors also think that housing benefit should be set at local rent rates – not a fixed rate of national inflation as proposed by the Westminster government.
The survey was carried out for Shelter and Shelter Scotland by pollsters ComRes.
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, says:
“Quite rightly, councillors across the country from all political parties are deeply concerned about the consequences of these changes and how they are going to deal with the fall-out from thousands of local people losing their homes.
“It’s time councils made clear to government the true impact of these changes on their local communities so that plans can be put in place to prevent complete chaos from erupting.
“There is still time for the UK government to think again about the impact of these changes on people who, however briefly, need a housing safety net to keep a roof over their head.
“As the cuts start to bite, we are seeing a rise in demand for our advice and support services – the beginning of the storm that we predicted earlier this year.”
Notes to Editors:
1. ComRes surveyed 175 Scotland councillors in Scotland as part of an online survey of 1299 councillors in England, Scotland and Wales, between 1st and 13th June 2011. Results were weighted to be representative of all councillors in terms of party representation and regional distribution. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables can be found at www.comres.co.uk
2. Shelter Scotland, the housing and homelessness charity. Shelter Scotland believes that everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
3. Spokespeople are available for interview, telephone the media office on 0844 515 2442.
4. For more information about Shelter Scotland visit www.shelter.org.uk
Contact: Shelter Scotland
Phone: 0844 515 2442