Iain Duncan Smith - housing work crucial to life chances
Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP has hailed the work of housing professionals as "crucial to improving the life chances of disadvantaged people" and called on people from across education, health, housing and others to work closer together to intervene early to support children in some of the most disadvantaged families.
Mr Duncan Smith, who is founder and chair of the think tank the Centre for Social Justice, was speaking at the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) annual Presidential Dinner on Wednesday 10 February.
Mr Duncan Smith, whose independent policy group believes that social housing must do more to help disadvantaged people out of poverty rather than reinforce their dependency, said that tackling the benefit trap was a key priority. He said: "We must recognise that we have created a benefit system that is an entrapment for those on low incomes" and he called for three steps to tackle worklessness. Firstly, he said we must make the pathway to work easier, secondly to tackle benefit reform and thirdly to make social housing much more flexible so that "people can make the most of work where it is".
Howard Farrand, CIH President said: "Mr Duncan Smith’s comments were thought-provoking and recognise what we instinctively know as housing professionals - that our work touches so many aspects of people’s lives and is an essential ingredient for social mobility, economic prosperity and healthy and safe communities."