Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness

The Tory-led government’s plans to cut housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness.

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Against a July backdrop of continuing news about the weakness of the economy and further post-Budget U-turns on fuel duty, the prime minister chose to single out ‘feckless’ 16 to 24 year old social housing tenants and their ‘dependency’ upon housing benefit as the great danger facing the UK.

Young-familyCoupled with the phantom EU referendum announcement, the prime minister’s Dartford ‘welfare crackdown’ speech was clearly designed to throw red meat to the Tory right and place some clear blue water between him and the deputy prime minister.

David Cameron said:

“The state spends almost £2 billion a year on housing benefit for under-25s. There are currently 210,000 people aged 16 to 24 who are social housing tenants.

“And this is happening when there is a growing phenomenon of young people living with their parents into their 30s because they can’t afford their own place… almost 3 million between the ages of 20 and 34.

“So for literally millions the passage to independence is several years living in the childhood bedroom as they save up to move out…while for others, it’s a trip to the council where they can get housing benefit at 18 or 19 – even if they’re not actively seeking work”.

The prime minister’s proposal, although including no commitment when it would be enacted, is to remove access to housing benefit for anyone aged 16 to 24 years affecting around 7 percent of social housing tenants.

Despite the reassurance of some exclusions – possibly those suffering domestic violence – it was both explicit and implicit in segments of the prime minister’s speech that the picture being painted was of an ‘undeserving’ group of young adults who are receiving subsidised housing while their more responsible, thrifty and ‘deserving’ peers stay at home with their parents.

Research by the Human City Institute shows that this is a parody of the real position.

 


See also:

•• Edwina Currie strikes again: Young people must ‘learn sense’ 25 Jun 2012

Cameron is playing on the myth all housing benefit goes to the unemployed 25 Jun 2012

Why do ministers refuse to invest in a housing boost that would be great for the economy? 13 Jun 2012


 

The latest attack on the poor has a long history of course and goes back to at least the Elizabethan Poor Law where the aim was to ‘set the poor to work’ – yet the prime minister speech plums a new depth in its willingness to muddy the waters by selective use of statistics and putting unconnected trends together.

For instance, the statement starts by quoting the amount of housing benefit it costs to support young adults and then moves on to quote the number living in social housing without acknowledging that many of those in the 16 to 24 age band will be living in the private rented sector; another unjustified swipe at the sector.

It then moves on to compare this age group with 20 to 34 year olds who remain living with their parents – not comparable at all – with no recognition of the lack of affordable housing being the problem.

The prime minister finally claimed that it’s easy to access social housing paid for by housing benefit, even though there are 5 million people waiting for a social tenancy, and confuses the way social housing is let, which remains on the basis on need (at least for the time being). A requirement to be ‘actively seeking work’ is not a major consideration currently.

The facts, however, show that young people living in social housing are mainly workers, students, parents or disabled, trying to create a better life for them and their families rather than the stereotype of young singles lying in bed all day at the tax payers’ expense.

For a start, almost 40 per cent of social tenants in the 16 to 24 age group do not receive housing benefit at all, equivalent to 84,000 of the prime minister’s 210,000. Of those who are claiming housing benefit, 19 per cent are economically active – in work or full-time education or training.

A further 36 per cent are mainly lone parents looking after their young children and not available for work in the main. Only 39 per cent of those claiming housing benefit, or 23 per cent of the total 16 to 24 year old group, are unemployed.

The majority of 16 to 24 year olds are not single people having moved into social housing as a lifestyle choice but responsible young adults living in couples or with children – 32 per cent have at least two household members and 47 per cent have three or more.

The likelihood of parents, even if willing, taking back into the parental home whole families is remote, and would probably lead to increases in overcrowding and recurrent homelessness (one in five 16 to 24 year olds were previously homeless and many more were living in temporary or inadequate housing).

Leaving aside the impracticalities of the proposed policy, it is highly improbable, given the number of exceptions that would need to be made, that it would save much public money to pare down the deficit, or free-up many social tenancies against the backdrop of a housing crisis that deepens by the day.

 


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41 Responses to “Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness”

  1. Lord Blagger

    That’s what happens when you tax those on min wage 3K a year. Not surprisingly they can’t afford things.

    Why are they taxed 3K?

    For the simple reason government is desperate for money, because of all those debts fraudulently hidden off the books.

  2. Joe Halewood HSM

    When Cameron said “There are currently 210,000 people aged 16 to 24 who are social housing tenants” he unwittingly gave out information that is NOT contained in the official HB statistics which merely says 388,000 under 25s get HB. Firstly, this means we know that 178,000 under 25s get LHA in the private sector. Secondly it means we can fairly accurately say that Under 25s in the PRS despite being maler in number actually get much more HB or public purse cost spent on them than their social rented sector (SRS) counterparts.

    The overall HB bill for under 25s is £1.85bn per year and at most £0.8bn goes to SRS tenants meaning over £1bn goes to PRS tenants.

    Cameron went on to say “…it’s a trip to the council where they can get housing benefit at 18 or 19 …” He tried to conflate the two and blame social housing for this situation. By doing so h went further than the ‘young girls get pregnant to get a council flat’ myth he was infering that just the availability of social housing perversersely incentivised young people to levve the warm comfortable bosom of their famil no less!

    Last week we had the EHS which showed that 64% of households headed up by the under 25s live in the private sector and only 24% live in social housing.

  3. Paul Crofts

    Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness, writes @KevinGulliver: http://t.co/pGW2D4tb

  4. Paul Crofts

    Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness, writes @KevinGulliver: http://t.co/pGW2D4tb

  5. Paul Crofts

    Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness, writes @KevinGulliver: http://t.co/pGW2D4tb

  6. Kevin Gulliver

    @PinderTim @Shelter @jules_birch @SpeyeJoe @LabourHousing Might be interested in my blog on HB/<25 yr olds http://t.co/A9e1Drn9 #ukhousing

  7. Kevin Gulliver

    @PinderTim @Shelter @jules_birch @SpeyeJoe @LabourHousing Might be interested in my blog on HB/<25 yr olds http://t.co/A9e1Drn9 #ukhousing

  8. Kevin Gulliver

    @PinderTim @Shelter @jules_birch @SpeyeJoe @LabourHousing Might be interested in my blog on HB/<25 yr olds http://t.co/A9e1Drn9 #ukhousing

  9. Joe Halewood HSM

    @PinderTim @Shelter @jules_birch @SpeyeJoe @LabourHousing Might be interested in my blog on HB/<25 yr olds http://t.co/A9e1Drn9 #ukhousing

  10. Joe Halewood HSM

    @PinderTim @Shelter @jules_birch @SpeyeJoe @LabourHousing Might be interested in my blog on HB/<25 yr olds http://t.co/A9e1Drn9 #ukhousing

  11. Joe Halewood HSM

    @PinderTim @Shelter @jules_birch @SpeyeJoe @LabourHousing Might be interested in my blog on HB/<25 yr olds http://t.co/A9e1Drn9 #ukhousing

  12. Neahle

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness, writes @KevinGulliver: http://t.co/16ditXqX #NewsClub

  13. Neahle

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness, writes @KevinGulliver: http://t.co/16ditXqX #NewsClub

  14. Neahle

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness, writes @KevinGulliver: http://t.co/16ditXqX #NewsClub

  15. Anonymous

    3k is a pittance compared to the costs you heap on them.

    And yes, you keep hiding your wealth off the books. Pay up!

  16. Anonymous

    So, unsurprisingly, it’s more expensive in the long term to pay housing benefit to private landlords.

    It’s also yet another perverse incentive to claim domestic violence.

  17. Kevin Gulliver

    @DrEoinClarke Thought you might be interested in my blog on Cameron proposal to remove HB from <25 yr olds. http://t.co/A9e1Drn9 #ukhousing

  18. Kevin Gulliver

    @DrEoinClarke Thought you might be interested in my blog on Cameron proposal to remove HB from <25 yr olds. http://t.co/A9e1Drn9 #ukhousing

  19. Kevin Gulliver

    @DrEoinClarke Thought you might be interested in my blog on Cameron proposal to remove HB from <25 yr olds. http://t.co/A9e1Drn9 #ukhousing

  20. vkellywallace

    Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness, writes @KevinGulliver: http://t.co/pGW2D4tb

  21. vkellywallace

    Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness, writes @KevinGulliver: http://t.co/pGW2D4tb

  22. vkellywallace

    Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness, writes @KevinGulliver: http://t.co/pGW2D4tb

  23. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness http://t.co/AgtvK2Jr

  24. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness http://t.co/AgtvK2Jr

  25. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness http://t.co/AgtvK2Jr

  26. Foxy52

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness http://t.co/AgtvK2Jr

  27. Foxy52

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness http://t.co/AgtvK2Jr

  28. Foxy52

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness http://t.co/AgtvK2Jr

  29. Roy

    Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness, writes @KevinGulliver: http://t.co/pGW2D4tb

  30. Roy

    Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness, writes @KevinGulliver: http://t.co/pGW2D4tb

  31. Roy

    Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness, writes @KevinGulliver: http://t.co/pGW2D4tb

  32. TheCreativeCrip

    Not just the young! ~ RT @leftfootfwd: Cutting housing benefit for young people could cause homelessness http://t.co/yjrRrJax

  33. Kevin Gulliver

    Cameron proposal 2 remove HB frm <25 yr olds doesn't stack up & relies on muddying the statistical waters. http://t.co/A9e1Drn9 #ukhousing

  34. Jim Grundy

    Cameron proposal 2 remove HB frm <25 yr olds doesn't stack up & relies on muddying the statistical waters. http://t.co/A9e1Drn9 #ukhousing

  35. Kathleen Kelly

    Blog by @kevingulliver removing HB for under 25s doesn't stack up & muddies statistical waters: http://t.co/AgYA3uHu > fair points well made

  36. Human City Institute

    Cameron proposal 2 remove HB from <25 yr olds doesn't stack up & relies on muddying the statistical waters. http://t.co/U2vTS2Do #ukhousing

  37. Kevin Gulliver

    Cameron proposal 2 remove HB from <25 yr olds doesn't stack up & relies on muddying the statistical waters. http://t.co/U2vTS2Do #ukhousing

  38. CfCR

    Cameron proposal 2 remove HB from <25 yr olds doesn't stack up & relies on muddying the statistical waters. http://t.co/U2vTS2Do #ukhousing

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