Thursday, 19 January 2017

Ministers still considering under 25s benefit cut

The work and pensions secretary has said discussions about cutting housing benefit for under 25s are ‘still going on’ despite the omission of plans from last week’s autumn statement.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Iain Duncan Smith was asked for an assurance that the government has no plans to remove housing benefit from under 25s. He replied: ‘The policy debates are likely to go ahead, but I have no plans as yet to implement any policy – there are further discussions to be had.’

Chancellor George Osborne raised the prospect of stopping housing benefit for under 25s at the Conservative Party conference in October. However the plans were left out of his autumn statement, despite the announcement of several other cuts to welfare payments.

It has been widely reported that Conservative ministers were forced to drop the plans following opposition from their Liberal Democrat colleagues.

Mr Duncan Smith said if the government did implement the policy ‘all impacts on various groups would be taken into consideration’.

‘There would not necessarily be carte blanche - there would be nuances and changes,’ he said. ‘However, as I have said, discussions are ongoing… no policy exists at the moment.’

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