Tuesday, 06 October 2015

Government benefit proposal attacked by charity

The government has admitted that it is examining a proposal which would stop people under-25 from receiving housing benefit.

It was revealed last week that the government’s policy unit was looking into the possibility of preventing young people under the age of 25 from receiving housing benefit and instead forcing them to live with their parents.

It is understood that the government is considering the change in a bid to make the welfare system ‘fairer’ and to cut spending on benefits.

A spokesperson for Number 10 told Inside Housing that a proposal had been put forward to the policy unit, which would now investigate the plans more fully.

The spokesperson said that it was at a very early stage and that it was far too early to say if this would be taken on by the coalition government or rejected out of hand.

‘It has been suggested as a policy but that is as far as it has gone,’ he said. ‘There are no plans to announce anything on it imminently.’

Kay Boycott, director of policy and campaigns at housing charity Shelter, said: ‘At Shelter we know that many young people simply don’t have family and friends to fall back on if they lose their job, and rely on housing support to keep a roof over their head. If true, these proposals would leave thousands of vulnerable young people, many of whom may have experienced family breakdown or abuse, with nowhere else to go.

‘And since previous changes to housing benefit will force people with spare rooms to downsize and penalise those with adult children living at home, these policies appear completely contradictory. 

‘It’s outrageous that the government is considering undermining the housing safety net yet again. Sadly it seems inevitable that we’ll see an increase in homelessness as a result.’

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