Friday, 18 April 2014

Benefits cut could leave under 25s homeless

Tens of thousands of under 25s could be homeless if the government presses ahead with plans to cut housing benefit for this age group, warns a homeless charity.

Crisis attacked the proposals calling them ‘unworkable and irresponsible’ saying it was impossible for many under 25s to return home as the government suggested they should.

It today launched a campaign – No going home – to stop the government proceeding with a measure aimed at saving around £1.9 billion as part of a plan to cut a further £10 billion from the welfare bill by 2016.

The charity, for single homeless people, points to Department for Work and Pensions figures showing 385,000 people under 25 claim housing benefit across the UK and a third of those were accepted as homeless because their parents would or could not house them. More a third of homeless people were aged 16 to 24.

Fifty three per cent (204,000) of those under 25 claiming housing benefit have dependent children, and around 45 per cent (171,000) are single parents.

Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, said: ‘It would be unworkable and irresponsible to withdraw housing benefit from under-25s at a time of high rents and youth unemployment.

‘There is no way that those fleeing abusive home lives or those whose parents can’t house them could be protected if this plan goes ahead.

‘We fear that if housing support is abolished for people under 25, then tens of thousands of young people will be made homeless.’

Prime minister David Cameron and chancellor George Osborne both came out in support of the proposal at the Conservative Party conference in October.

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg opposed a ‘blanket ban’ on housing benefit for under 25-year-olds on BBC Radio 5 after the conference.

A DWP spokesperson said: ‘We’re looking at a range of options for future reforms to the welfare system - no decisions have been made.

‘Any changes would affect future claimants only and we would still ensure that vulnerable people remain protected.’

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