Friday, 27 February 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.’

Readers' comments (11)

  • Eric Blair

    Needless to say none of this will affect the child of a single Cabinet member, high court judge or bishop. Special people. Which century are we living in again?

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  • As Kay Boycott says many, many young people have no relationship with their parents or close family members or simply don't have parents and have been bought up via the care system.
    I really wonder about this's almost like a continuous sick joke....except it's not funny, for those on the recieving end.
    Who runs the 'Department of Social Exclusion'?......Whoever they are, they'll undoubtly be looking at a large bonus......

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  • While there are parents and children that abuse the HB system (you'd be surprised how many kids become "homeless" the day after they hit 18), there are far many more than that whom would be forced to stay with violent parents, or were brought up in care systems whom would be prevented from starting a life of their own.

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  • Whilst it is understandable the Govt would still be seeking to generate further ideas to cut public expenditure a distinction must be drawn between those ideas that are necessary to meet the Govt's target (whether you agree with that target or not) and those ideas which appear ideological in roots, and nothing to do with the current objective. This clearly falls into the ideological category. As such therefore I would expect it to be opposed by the Lib Dem half of the coalition. I would urge those Lib Dem Supporters who read Inside Housing to start the process to bury this idea.
    You cannot have a situation where you can guarantee that EVERY person under 25 would still be at home or and could not leave home until they have a job. I am not proud of it but I was forced to kick my step daughter out of my home she being a returning student (which today will not be uncommon) due to overcrowding in the family home. How will these proposals help this situation even if the homeless person in such a scenario goes into hostel accommodation?

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  • Gavin Rider

    This is unbelievable.

    Can Inside Housing please ask Number 10 who exactly was the originator of this suggestion, and publish the details?

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  • Melvin Bone

    'Gavin Rider This is unbelievable.'

    Certainly this idea is from some singleton or someone with no prospect of having kids.

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  • Like Gavin, I would be interested to know who came up with this suggestion and also what there 'plan b' is for young people with no family as there is a major shortage of hostel spaces across the country. That number will continue to reduce as donations from individual givers are now threatened and the cuts that have already hit in Supporting People.

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  • I thought it was a rather isnsensitive April Fool story when I read about it a few days ago......

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  • Does this remind anyone else of Thatcher's attach on the board and lodging allowance for young people? Look at how that turned out!,2407102

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  • Chris

    @Melvin - that was a little beneath the belt!

    Taking into account this comes in the same week that the Chancellor of the Exchequer (a multi-millionaire's son in a cabinet full of multi-millionaires) was shocked to find how little tax rich people pay - anything excreted by this government is not beyond belief.

    They have not the first idea what it is like to try to make a living as an average or low paid family in this country, nor what it is like to be a young person trying to make a start in life without the privalege of parents who are too rich to pay tax.

    What is also believable is the numbers of 'average' people who so want to be part of that privaleged sect that they continually argue for this government, in the hope that one day they may be an exploiter rather than the exploited.

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