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U-turns

Axing Housing Benefit for under-25s

  • Cameron to axe housing benefits for under 25s – Mail on Sunday, 24 Jun 2012
  • Plan to end housing benefits for under-25s is dropped – The Guardian, 5 Dec 2012

In June, David Cameron revealed housing benefit will be scrapped for under 25s, who’ll be “forced to live with their parents”.

The Mail on Sunday reported:

Radical new welfare cuts targeting feckless couples who have children and expect to live on state handouts will be proposed by David Cameron tomorrow.

His bold reforms could also lead to 380,000 people under 25 being stripped of housing benefits and forced to join the growing number of young adults who still live with their parents.

However, in today’s autumn statement, the plans were axed, as The Guardian reports:

The Liberal Democrats had successfully blocked Tory plans to end housing benefit for under-25s, which would have saved £2bn from the welfare budget – a move welcomed by homeless organisations such as Crisis.

Although the idea was floated by David Cameron in the summer, the Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, argued that young people are suffering from rising unemployment and warned that if the government stopped housing benefit payments to young people then many would end up on the streets.

The government’s figures show the state spends almost £2bn a year on housing benefit for under-25s, and there are currently 210,000 people aged 16-24 who are social housing tenants.

In a speech in June the prime minister had painted a picture of those on benefits as having an easier time than their working peers forced to live at home. He said: “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 their childhood bedroom as they save up to move out while for many 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.”

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