PM’s Plan To Axe Housing Benefit For The Young
Hundreds of thousands of young people could lose their housing benefit under a series of radical welfare reforms revealed by David Cameron.
The suggested shake-up would see the removal of most of the £1.8bn in housing benefits paid to 380,000 under 25s – worth an average £90 a week – forcing them to support themselves or live with parents.
Also among the measures is a plan to stop the £70-a-week dole payment for individuals deemed not to be trying hard enough to get work.
And the overhaul could also see a hard core of unemployed people forced to do community work after two years – or lose all their benefits.
It comes as it emerged Mr Cameron’s flagship ‘big society’ had been lambasted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The proposed changes to the welfare system are due to be laid out by the Prime Minister in a speech on Monday.
But in an interview with the Mail on Sunday, he insisted the existing system was giving the wrong incentives and urged more action to prevent feckless families relying on state handouts.
According to the newspaper, ministers are also looking again at plans to limit child benefit to a couple’s first three children – although Mr Cameron will stop short of raising the idea.
The Prime Minister said the existing benefits system was “sending out strange signals on working, housing and families”.
“A couple will say, ‘We are engaged, we are both living with our parents, we are trying to save before we get married and have children and be good parents,” he said.
“‘But how does it make us feel, Mr Cameron, when we see someone who goes ahead, has the child, gets the council home, gets the help that isn’t available to us?’.
“One is trapped in a welfare system that discourages them from working, the other is doing the right thing and getting no help.”
“We are spending nearly £2bn on housing benefit for under-25s – a fortune. The system currently sends the signal you are better off not working, or working less.”
The Prime Minister’s hard line on benefits could exacerbate strains with Liberal Democrat coalition partner Nick Clegg, after a damaging recent split over proposals to axe GCSEs.