The UK Government's welfare reform agenda has similar or even greater support in Scotland than in the south of England, according to the head of a housing charity.
People in Scotland should not "delude" themselves into thinking that their general attitude to benefit reforms is different from the rest of the UK, said Shelter Scotland director Graeme Brown.
He was speaking during an End Child Poverty Coalition seminar on Scottish independence in Edinburgh on Thursday morning, which featured a speech by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Ms Sturgeon cast doubt on Mr Brown's analysis, saying Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud "does not represent anyone in Scotland" and suggesting that Chancellor George Osborne would be verbally "lynched" if he appeared before Scottish child poverty campaigners.
Mr Brown said: "We shouldn't delude ourselves. Although we might all disagree with Lord Freud, the reason the Government can continue with its program is because it has public support. The Social Attitudes Survey demonstrates that there is public support and a hardening of attitudes against welfare recipients and a strengthening of the poor law mentality.
"I think we shouldn't also delude ourselves that the attitudes in Scotland in the British Social Attitudes survey show parallel or more intense attitudes compared with London and the South East. So the attitudes towards welfare recipients in Scotland are by and large the same as those that exist outside Scotland."
He called for leadership from Scotland's politicians to challenge Westminster's narrative about "scroungers".
Mr Sturgeon said: "We are not sure folk are as of one mind like that. We speak out because we think it is right to do so. I think these attitudes have to be challenged. That's not to say people shouldn't be encouraged to work. Nobody should get an easy ride and be able to sit in the house all day long without working.
"But the fact of the matter is, the UK Government has been successful in being able to equate the welfare reform agenda with scroungers who lie in bed all day. The majority of these changes hit people who are in work, working in low-paid jobs."
She criticised Lord Freud's response to her call for a repeal of the so-called bedroom tax at the Joint Ministerial Committee in London on Wednesday. She said: "No disrespect to Lord Freud. He's in Scotland today but he doesn't represent us."