Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, criticises the government for "bulldozing" through badly thought out policies despite advice from experts:
"With 21 per cent of people struggling to meet housing costs it's naive to think you can cut support without putting some people at risk of losing their home. Our services are seeing increasing demand as people are hit by the first wave of changes to housing benefit and yet the government hasn't looked to change any of its proposed reforms. The coalition government should stop bulldozing through badly thought through policies whilst ignoring independent evidence, its own expert panel and the views of those who will deal with the very real impact on people.
"Independent research by the University of Cambridge warned in October last year that at least 19,000 households would become homeless as a result of changes to housing benefit. This was ratified by the government's own advisory body, the Social Security Advisory Committee, who also warned of the risks. Even the Lords insisted on a review of the changes because of their concerns about the social impact. Since then further Shelter analysis has revealed the effects of the £26k cap, namely that it would have a severe impact on households with children living in the private rented sector and hit people in London and the South East the hardest.
"Yet the government has consistently dismissed all this evidence as scaremongering, and held on to this position even as recently as this week, even though Shelter research this week revealed that 44% of councillors believe reductions in housing benefit will lead to an increase in homelessness in their area."