Benefit cuts for under-25s promoting myth and misunderstanding, says CIH Scotland
Proposals to cut housing benefit for the under 25s are based on huge misconceptions about the actual living circumstances of younger people, according to the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland.
During his speech at the Conservative Party Conference on Monday, Chancellor George Osborne outlined additional cuts to the welfare budget, including cutting help with housing costs for under 25s.
David Bookbinder, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at CIH Scotland, said:
“The proposed cuts are based on the premise that it’s wrong for out of work under 25s to be living in a flat when other under 25s in work have to stay with their parents. This must break a record for the number of myths promoted through a single proposal.
“Firstly, over half of the UK’s 383,650 housing benefit claimants under 25 have children, so the notion that people can just stay at home with their parents is hardly realistic in those cases.
“Secondly, of all under 25s without children, only 10% live in independent, non-shared housing and more than half do still live with parents. For many who’ve not been able to stay at home, family breakdown, abuse or other circumstances mean they’ve been forced to leave home rather than simply left because they like the idea.
“Thirdly, there’s a clear and deliberate implication that benefit claimants are happy not to be in work. Young people have been particularly hard hit by the economic downturn, leading to a 61% rise in youth employment in Scotland in the last four years. Despite this, a significant minority of benefit claimants under 25 are still in work. Many young people will also have paid tax and national insurance prior to needing to claim benefit - it appears contrary to the government's fairness principle that they should not have access to the same support as others.”
CIH Scotland says that UK-wide, if all under 25s lost their housing benefit, the government would save £1.88 billion, which is a long way short of its £10 billion target. CIH argues that it is impossible to create economic growth without a mobile workforce, and that removing help with housing costs for under 25s could significantly reduce peoples' willingness to move to take up a job opportunity if they fear that they could subsequently lose their job.
Contact: David Bookbinder on 07950 684153