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Homeless charities have slammed David Cameron’s pledge to scrap housing benefit for unemployed young people.

David Cameron said on Tuesday that a future Conservative Government would axe housing benefit for unemployed 18-21 year olds on Jobseeker’s Allowance, saving an estimated £120 million.

Cambell Rob, chief executive of the homeless charity Shelter, said that for many young people housing benefit is “the only thing that stands between them and the streets”. Removing this vital part of the safety net “would be a disaster”, he said.

Paul Noblet from the charity Centrepoint said: “The young people we support simply cannot return home because their families already live in overcrowded accommodation or because they have suffered violence or abuse.

He added: “Removing more benefits from young people will only cause further misery and homelessness.”

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: “For young people escaping abuse; for those whose family relationships have broken down, housing benefit can be all that stands between them and homelessness.

“We know half of all homeless people first become homeless aged under 21. Without the safety net of benefits, many more will end up on the streets.

“A tragic waste of young lives.”

Mr Sparkes warned the main political parties against turning the general election campaign into “a race to the bottom”.

“This election must not become a race to the bottom, where the main parties strive to outdo each other by being ‘tough on benefits’”, he said.

“We welcome positive proposals to offer better training support and apprenticeships, but we must make sure that housing support remains available for those who have no choice but to fend for themselves.”

David Cameron also promised to lower the benefit cap from £26,000 to £23,000. A move campaigners claim would affect children more than working-age adults and increase poverty.

Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said:

“Let’s be absolutely clear. The benefit cap is at least nine times more likely to affect children than adults, and the majority of adults it hits are lone parents, many of whom have children so young even the Government recognises they should not be required to work.

“Britain is facing a looming child poverty crisis; lowering the benefit cap would bring it several steps closer. It would pile on the misery for working and non-working families already struggling to pay for absolute basics.

“Surely it would also fail the Prime Minister’s own family test.

“Rather than taking away money from the poorest, politicians of all parties need to tackle the root causes of higher social security spending which include soaring childcare and housing costs and low pay.”

However, Mr Cameron said his party’s pledge to lower the benefit cap “tells you everything you need to know about our values”.

“Conservatives believe we should be giving people the chance of a better future while encouraging people on benefits back into work”, he said.

“We want to put people’s hard-earned taxes into lifting people up, not holding them down.

“Over the next five years millions of young people will get a decent start in life, learning a trade, and knowing the purpose and pride that comes with that.”

Shadow Work and Pensions, Rachel Reeves MP, said Labour supports the benefit cap and “will ask an independent commission to look at whether the cap should be lower in some areas”.

She added: “But David Cameron can’t hide from the fact that his government has spent £25bn more than planned on welfare because of his failure to tackle the low pay that leaves millions dependent on benefits to make ends meet.”


  1. Does anyone know a rough date or year that they intend to put this into place ? I am 20 this October and have finally settled in a home of my own through privately renting with the support of housing benefits. If that gets taken away I will be completely homeless with no family and no friends to move in with. I am worried sick about this happening. Yet i’m seeking work every single day in the hope of finding something. Are they really wanting to turn so many lives upside down :/

  2. The aim of getting people into work is right but trust politicians of all persuasions to mess it up. No one under 25 will risk moving out of home and getting a job for fear of losing it and becoming homeless as many parents have to downsize to avoid paying bedroom tax.
    So everyone is in education until 25 what does that give you? A smaller workforce to pay the taxes needed to raise revenue for the government now correct me if I’m wrong but that means higher not lower taxes.
    It’s bad enough at colleges now with many only going so families can claim benefits doing courses with no interest in them or prospects of using them in the outside world. Great learning environment for those that actually want to be there not to mention cutting of more and more courses for over 25’s trying to retrain and get back into work.
    The end result will be higher benefits paid to families as they’ll now claim from 19-25 6 years longer income support, child benefit and tax credits otherwise families won’t be able to keep them yet again raising the tax burdon on an already overburdened decreasing workforce.

  3. So young people in care who are with foster parents costing the state £400 a week will have to stay with the foster parents until they are 21 years of age as they are unable to get housing benefit till then and those who are in care homes which cost £2000 pounds a week for the placement will also have to stay in the care homes till they are 21 years of age. can Ian Duncan smith tell us how this crazy policy is saving the country money.

  4. This government has no concept of the realities of facing homelessness in a hopeless society where the rich thrive and live in excess, and everyone else is a slave to money constantly battling for survival. The tory government have been nothing but cruel and inhumane ever since they fluked thier way into power and are constantly trying to subjugate and persecute those they see as belonging to the under-classes they despise. This is just another one of thier “necessary austerity measures”, when the reality is that the only people who need to kerb thier spending are the super rich tax dodgers which make up 90% of the tory vote.

  5. Most 18-21 year olds still live at home. Those that don’t are often the most disadvantaged youngsters, coming out from the care system or abusive homes…to deny them the right to HB is draconian and very very short sighted…but that is our government all over

  6. The simple reason why they intend to remove Housing benefit from 18 to 21 year olds is because these people tend not to Vote.
    When your not expecting to lose Votes you can implement any policy you want.
    In May every 18 to 21 year old has the chance to say no to this removal. But to do so means they have to not only register to vote but actually get off their backside and Vote.
    If the Young Vote this may they will show this Government it is no longer acceptable to pick on them.
    If every person who has faced a Benefit sanction cast a vote against the Tories and Liberal democrats. their party share of votes would be so much lower.
    If all the students facing £9,000 fees voted against those that introduced it. they to would see a different outcome at the General election.
    The Political parties fear the Grey Vote why. because Pensioners Vote. it really is that simple.
    Its time for all to Vote so all sections of society get heard for a change.

  7. It’s getting to feel like ethnic cleansing of the very people who are our countries future. If hear Cameron say one more time that ‘They’ get to 16 leave home get a flat from the council and claim housing benefit there may be a brick thought the tv. Firstly children are in school until they are 18 secondly they can only ‘do’ be apprentice if they live at home because the money they get is dire. Thirdly thee guys are not – in the main – wanting to be unemployed. My Daughter a Graduate was unemployed when she left uni. She felt worthless Came home from the job center in tears Took a number of short term jobs and in the end the family and herself scraped together enough money for her to take her Masters Degree- which she got the highest grade. She was headhunted for her current job and is being headhunted again by the most used internet browsers.
    Oh and I am 96% bed bound a benefit scrounger who live in a council house. Which belies the concept of worthless effortless underdog

  8. It’s getting so that if Charles Dickens was raised from the dead, he’d think he’d only been gone for a few days.

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