New Housing Benefit Cuts – More Eton Mess

8 October 2012

Housing Benefit Form PicLet’s just quickly run through why the announcement on housing benefit is ill-considered and counter-productive.

Well, it targets the young. Not content with, slamming more than a million of them out of employment and education, the idea is to now effectively raise the age of adulthood up to 25.

From what we heard this morning, Housing Benefit for the under 25s not in work will only be available if they really have nowhere else to go. Is that like Incapacity Benefit still being available to those who really need it? With “who needs it” being decided by ATOS? Who will be the ATOS for the housing world?

unemployment imageAnd if a person under 25, one of the young working poor, loses their job, does this mean they will also lose their Housing Benefit. And does this mean they will have to “move back home”? Is that really the best way of helping them find alternative employment?

By pushing people back to their parental homes it hugely increases the probability of relationship breakdowns. These people are not kids. In fact lots of under 25s have kids of their own. And their parents may well be of advancing years. It is brewing a perfect storm of domestic disintegration – known to be one of the leading causes of homelessness.

And that’s presuming that there is a familial home for people to go back to start with.

homelessness personNo, in straight economic terms this makes no sense. It will impact upon employment and deepen the housing crisis. It has been estimated that poor housing costs the NHS £2.5bn a year. But for every pound one invests in dealing with housing and homelessness crises, you save £2. And just because you cut housing benefit doesn’t mean to say that the problems of housing and homelessness disappear.

What a contrast with the youth housing and homeless project that the CWU has been so closely involved and that was launched at the Labour Party Conference last week, together with the commitment for the next Labour government to build 100,000 new homes, and local authorities like the London Borough of Southwark pledging to build 1,000 new council homes.

At a time when young people struggling to keep their dignity, respect and to assert their rights and responsibilities as fully paid up members of society, this government doesn’t seems to be on the same page at all – in fact it’s not even reading the same book.

Don’t just take my word for it. There is an excellent discussion thread here:

And please, please come if you can to the march and rallies on 20 October.