Thursday, 23 October 2014

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.’

Readers' comments (35)

  • Colin McCulloch

    Would somebody please tell these cretins in power that we have 2.5 million unemployed, plus millions in low paid, part-time jobs. It's not as simple as "finding a job". What employers are hiring just now? Who is offering wages that can keep up with the rise of private sector rents?

    Further welfare cuts will only exacerbate the situation. Removing HB for under-25s will also lead to social unrest, which the police won't be too keen to face down after the swingeing cuts to their terms and conditions of service.

    Generic mindless optimism with regards to the Universal Credit; if it sees the light of day in its current form I'll be surprised.

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  • Under 25s have just been hit with the fact that they will continue to only be eligible for single room rent until they are 35.

    If they stay at home they are being hit harder and harder with the non dependant deductions and if they move out the gov't is going to hit their parents with a hefty 14% bedroom tax deduction.

    Never mind the fact that in most areas they will also be expected to contribute around 25% of their council tax bill out of their tiny amount of benefit from April 2013.

    The situation is bad enough without any further welfare cuts. Prison will be the new housing benefit under universal credit for under 25s!

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  • Iron Fist

    What about all the under 25s in hostels, supported housing etc who've left home due to family breakdown, abuse etc?

    Where are they then supposed to be rehoused if denied HB until they get sorted with a job; or what happens to those under 25s who lose employment and are then made homeless due to non-eligibility to claim HB?

    The tories demonstrate at bes,t a crass ignorance of anybody circumstances but the wealthy's; at worst a perverse 'couldn't give a damn' attitude. In the words of Terry Thomas, "A shower, an absolute shower!"

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  • When I was unemployed I went around the local businesses small and big to see if there was anything on offer, make do with what I had, - the world out there is harsh, and does not owe anybody anything - the youngsters need to remould themselves in the traditional British tradition - go round and look - there is always something to do at a price, I have been looking for someone to do a bit of gardening or repairs - not many would take such work unless paid high rates - rates just have to come down and there will be work for all.

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  • Iron Fist

    Venk - well done for coming up with a cure to all the ills welfare reform will cause. Everybody can work as jobbing gardeners or handymen! Just what the tories would want. A fresh supply of forelock tugging people mowing their lawns in order to try and scrape enough together for the rent.

    Your ignorance of the circumstances these young people face is quite staggering and breathtaking.

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  • Colin McCulloch

    Venk Shenoi says:

    "rates just have to come down and there will be work for all".

    Absolute nonsense. Cutting the value wages whilst the cost of living sky rockets will only cement the economy in recession and then ultimately a depression. We need jobs that pay living rates, so living costs are affordable. Odd jobs in your garden (who's paying the tax by the way?) simply isn't an answer.

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  • Chris

    What Osbourne repeatidly fails to understand is that there are more people in receipt of benefit working for low wages than there are unemployed. This grandstanding appeal to the unthinking classes will make little saving yet cause real and potentially lethal harm to the minority who truly depend on benefits to stay alive, and cannot simply return home to mummy and daddy.

    It is like his claim that scrapping the higher rate of taxation upon the wealthy cost nothing as it collected nothing - yet somehow this nothing tax caused droves of wealthy to exile themselves from the country to avoid it. He cannot have it both ways and remain believable.

    This is yet another in the Tory arsenal of attacks on the poorest in society - no doubt later parents will be blamed for the starving young adults littering our streets. In which case the alternative has already been seen in Westminster - both parent and child starving to death through sharing their insufficient provisions.

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  • Just out of curiosity - and allowing of course for those with special circumstances - why shouldn't unemployed under 25s stay living with their parents? Why should the government pay for them to move out?

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  • Chris

    To answer your curiosity Tricky - how many of your own family (theoretically in the event that you do not have any family) could your income support before your budget became unsustainable? And how much of your current taxes you pay, in part to help support those who fall on hard times, would you wish rebated to you personally now you were funding such support directly?

    Can you envisage the dire consequences of a person losing their home (because they cannot afford to keep it whilst they look for work) and all their possessions (as they cannot afford the storage costs) everytime they became unemployed as a result of the created flexible labour market leading to constant breaks in employment as the new norm for the new generations. Ultimately this is a prohibition on the right to family life and self determination of life style with the exception of those with sufficient family wealth to permit and fund such choices. Whilst this was an acceptable predicament in the late 19th Century it ceased to be supported through the 20th Century and deserves no thought in the 21st Century, unless you are really prepared to accept all of the other 19th Century 'niceties' that went with it.

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  • Colin McCulloch

    Tricky,

    It depends on the cirumstances. What if your 23 year old loses their job and needs assistance to pay the rent that they had been managing for 3 years previously with no problem? Why should they have to move "home"? Why doesn't a 45 year old unemployed person have the same stigma? They might have parents to return "home" to as well.

    The problem is real and dangerous; the battle lines between deserving and undeserving are being drawn. People talk about "fair" and being tough on "scroungers"; define a scrounger. Is it your shamelessesque idle loafer? Is it the young person (one of over a million) who can't get a foot on the employment ladder? Is it the single mum with two kids whose father ran off? Is it the factory worker with over thirty years experience who is finding it hard to reskill and retrain? Who is deserving?

    The answer, of course, is to end means testing. Replace all existing benefits with a single, universal payment of a basic income (amount up for debate) to all adult citizens. Streamline taxation into one rate levied against all gross personal income.

    The current and future systems simply don't work, in any sense of the work.

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