Roundup: The charities respond to UK Government plans to cut housing benefit for young people, as revealed this week in the Queen's speech.
[28 May 2015]
The Chief Executives, and other leading figures, of several UK homelessness charities have offered strong responses to this week's announcement that the Government intends to limit and reduce housing benefit for young people. Here's a roundup of their opinions and concerns:
The Government’s plan to cut housing benefit for 18-21 year-olds could spell disaster for thousands of young people who cannot live with their parents. At an age when other young people are leaving home to travel, work or study, growing numbers could be facing homelessness and the terrifying prospect of roughing it on the streets.
Jon Sparkes, CEO Crisis
A blanket removal of housing benefit from 18- to 21-year olds would affect nearly 20,000 young people. It also runs the risk of not only increasing homelessness but also could fail to deliver the promised savings to the taxpayer.
Paul Noblet, Centrepoint
These rash plans risk compromising 118,000 vulnerable young people, forcing many to choose between staying on in unstable homes or becoming homeless. This benefit must remain available for the UK’s most vulnerable to fall back on, if we are not to see a generation of disadvantaged young people plunged into destitution.
Javed Khan, Barnardos
Our great fear is that young people who cannot afford to rent will be shut out from safe housing options. They may have to resort to extremely unsuitable accommodation, remain in abusive and violent relationships, or have no option other than to sleep on the streets, risking their health, even their lives. This could create a new generation of young rough sleepers.
Howard Sinclair, St Mungos
...there are long-term consequences for removing Housing Benefit for this age group. The misconception is that young people are simply abusing the system to have a good life when, in reality, for young people accessing the social security system, it is not a choice but a necessity.
Denise Hatton, YMCA England
Staying at home is simply not an option for many young people, and support to live independently is essential if they are to realise their education or employment ambitions. We strongly urge the Government to reconsider this policy and the unintended consequences it could have on those who need additional support to keep their lives on track.
Rick Henderson, Homeless Link