Friday, 06 March 2015

Osborne under pressure to axe housing benefit cut

Pressure is mounting on the chancellor to axe plans to cut housing benefit for under 25s, with some reports suggesting the move has already been shelved.

A study published today by umbrella group Homeless Link says welfare cuts are already increasing the chances of young people becoming homeless. And yesterday a Yougov poll commissioned by single homelessness charity Crisis found 57 per cent of people are opposed to cutting housing benefit for under 25s.

A report in the Observer newspaper yesterday suggested the chancellor has already backed down from including the plans in his autumn statement this week, after opposition from Liberal Democrats, including deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

George Osborne raised the idea of cutting housing benefit for under-25s at the Conservative Party conference in October, as part of a plans to cut a further £10 billion from welfare spending.

The Homeless Link report published today, Young & Homeless 2012, found family breakdown is increasing homelessness among under 25s, and welfare reforms are making it harder for them to find housing.

The charity said there is a ‘strong case’ for not cutting housing benefit for under 25s.

Young people have already been hit by an increase in the age at which individuals can claim housing benefit for a single bedroom property rather than a room in a shared house from the age of 25 and 35, and caps on the amount that can be claimed for properties in the private rented sector.

The survey of 117 homeless charities and 101 local authority housing services found 65 per cent of providers felt the changes had made it harder for young people to find private accommodation, and 50 per cent said more young people were seeking support.

Rick Henderson, chief executive of Homeless Link, said: ‘These findings highlight the impact that capping welfare for young people is already having on their ability to find housing. Homelessness among the under 25s is increasing in many areas while unemployment, rising rents and cuts to homelessness and youth services are leaving many with nowhere to turn.’

Martin Houghton-Brown, chief executive of Depaul UK, said: ‘Homeless Link’s report demonstrates the need for urgent action. Youth homelessness figures don’t have to keep on rising; safety, security and support at the right time can prevent a housing emergency becoming long-term homelessness.’

The Crisis survey found 74 per cent of the 1,746 adults contacted by Yougov who had a view agreed under-25s should have the same rights and access to welfare as other adults. Thirty per cent of people who backed the cuts said they would not do so if they increased homelessness.

The charity has been campaigning to protect housing benefit for young adults. Chief executive Leslie Morphy said: ‘The polling results and our campaigners’ personal experiences, show that the majority of the public doesn’t support this unworkable and arbitrary plan to deny housing benefit to under-25-year-olds.’

Readers' comments (11)

  • It's heartening to read this bad news for the UK Conservative Coalition Government and it's vilification of the young - seems that much of the UK public just don't buy it.

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  • These people have never been without.

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  • Brian C Kent

    It's a start.

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  • I don't think there should be a cut. I also don't think anybody from Europe should be able to claim either.

    Young people should be living at home with their parents like they do that in Europe. And if that not possible only then you should be able to claim. Housing benefits

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  • "Osborne under pressure to axe housing benefit cut"

    would sound much more sensible if it read:

    "Osborne under pressure to axe housing benefit."

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  • Melvin Bone

    To be fair this is just a Tory 'proposal' and not a coalition one...

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  • A cut to housing benefit would have hit those with least hardest. A number of young people can’t go back to their parents’ house - because they’re leaving state care, because their parents have kicked them out, or because there’s a history of abuse. St Mungo’s called for these housing benefit cuts to be ditched and now young people across the country can begin to breathe a sigh of relief.

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  • The con dems have already rushed through severe leglislation
    to impose £ 18 Billion of benefit cuts onto the poorest people
    in the uk ,and these are not one off cuts but annual reductions
    to the vital and legal benefit entitlements of millions of people.
    They have already cut housing benefits for public and private
    tenants , including for people under 35 , and have especially
    targeted 670,000 council tenants with a £1 Billion p.a cut,
    which these tenants will have to make up out of their other benefits
    which are also being cut.The con dems want this annual cut to
    also increase by £80 million p.a , which means that these tenants
    are going to have to make up a shortfall of £11 Billion over the
    next decade just to stay in their existing homes.

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  • how right you are Ann. In Italy most men stay at home until the are 30.
    to be fair in many countries in EU people live as in the past in multigenerational homes. It has many advantages.
    Yes there are a few people who need help. But the whole social benefits system has to be reviewed and reallined to the real world.
    It needs Massive cuts in Central and local government waste. It needs the number of MP's reduced to 300 and no council to have more than 10 unpaid councillors. Also the rich and multi- nationals to pay their tax, and inheritance tax must be collected at 40% for ALL (over the present limit, I think its 400K).

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  • Peter Wicks via @GoPetition
    The Queen to ask Parliament to repeal The Welfare Reform Act 2012

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