Thursday, 02 April 2015

Under 25s face further cuts to housing benefit

Chancellor George Osborne is expected to highlight plans to restrict housing benefit payments to under 25s when he addresses the Conservative Party conference today.

The move is one of a range of measures being considered to allow a further £10 billion to be cut from the welfare budget.

In his conference speech Mr Osborne will question whether paying housing benefit to young people who have never worked is justified.

An article in today’s Daily Mail written by Mr Osborne and work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith asks: ‘Is it right that school leavers should be able to move directly from school to a life on housing benefit without finding a job first?’

The article states both men are ‘satisfied’ it is possible to cut a further £10 billion from the welfare budget. Mr Duncan Smith had previously indicated he would resist any further cuts to welfare spending.

Mr Osborne first raised the prospect the £10 billion cut in his March Budget. In an interview with the Times newspaper in April Mr Duncan Smith said he did not think it would be acceptable for the next spending review to bring in cuts on that scale.

These differences now seem to have been resolved, with prime minister David Cameron telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme yesterday further welfare cuts could begin before the 2015 general election.

The Daily Mail article also seeks to smooth over any tensions between the Treasury and Department for Work and Pensions on the government’s flagship welfare reform policy, universal credit.

The authors state: ‘We are united in our determination to deliver universal credit, the most fundamental reform of our benefits system for a generation, on time and on budget.

‘Our departments are working closely together to ensure that we do.’

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