PM confirms age limit plan for housing benefit
David Cameron has confirmed the government will look to end automatic housing benefit for under 25-year-olds.
The prime minister confirmed the move, widely trailed in the media this week, in his address to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham today.
Mr Cameron told delegates that ‘welfare is not working’ and said the coalition government’s welfare reforms, which include a benefits cap and the move to a universal credit, ‘are as profound as those of Beveridge 60 years ago’.
He made a contrast between young people who work hard and save up for a flat while living at home, and those who ‘sign on….get housing benefit, get a flat, and then don’t ever get a job [because they think they’ll] lose a load of housing benefit’.
Mr Cameron said: ‘We are going to look at ending automatic access to housing benefit for people under 25.
‘If hard-working young people have to live at home while they work and save, why should it be any different for those who don’t?’ Mr Cameron did not say which groups of people would be exempt from the cut, or how people would be assessed.
The prime minister also made a pitch to be the party of home ownership and said the nation needs to ‘accept we need to build more houses in Britain’.
He said: ‘There are young people who work hard year after year but are still living at home. They sit in their childhood bedroom, looking out of the window, dreaming of a place of their own.
‘I want us to say to them, you are our people, we are on your side, we will help you reach your dreams.’ Mr Cameron also pledged to simplify planning rules and beat ‘suffocating bureaucracy’.
Rick Henderson, chief executive umbrella body for homelessness charities Homeless Link, on the moves to end automatic housing benefit for under 25s said: ‘Our young people face rising rents and high levels of unemployment. Homelessness amongst the under-25s has also increased – often driven by relationship breakdowns in families.
‘This idea, if it comes to pass, will do little to help young people with no family home or no option but to move out. Nor will it help those who have to claim housing benefit because they are in low paid jobs and face high rents. In fact it could have a devastating effect on youth homelessness.’