Another attack from Cameron suggests cutting housing benefit for under-25s

The prime minister has suggested that people under the age of 25 could lose the right to housing benefit, as part of moves to cut the welfare bill.

Scrapping the benefit for that age group would save almost £2bn a year.

In an interview in the Mail on Sunday, David Cameron said he wanted to stop workers resenting people on benefits.

But a senior Lib Dem warned that the priority was to get young people into work, training or education to avoid “repeating the mistakes of the 1980s”.

In his newspaper article, which comes ahead of an expected speech on the subject this week, Mr Cameron said the existing system was sending out “strange signals” on working, housing and families.

He called for a wider debate on issues including the cost of benefits.

BBC political correspondent Vicki Young said the article was a clear appeal to core Tory voters and MPs who have criticised Mr Cameron for failing to promote Conservative values while in coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

‘Trapped in welfare’

For the Lib Dems, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander told BBC One’s Sunday Politics he was “very relaxed” about the prime minister “setting out his own thinking”.

But the coalition government had already brought in radical welfare reform and “the right thing to do” was to let them “bed in before we take further decisions”.

He added that the immediate priority with young people was stopping them being “blighted by long periods of unemployment” as they had in the 1980s – a reference to the decade when there was a Conservative government.

The Mail quoted Mr Cameron contrasting a couple living with their parents and saving before getting married and having children, with a couple who have a child and get a council home.

“One is trapped in a welfare system that discourages them from working, the other is doing the right thing and getting no help,” he said.

Mr Cameron said the welfare system sent out the signal that people were “better off not working, or working less”.

“It encourages people not to work and have children, but we should help people to work and have children,” he said.

He said that he also favoured new curbs on the Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Later this week, Mr Cameron will set out more proposals aimed at cutting the UK’s welfare bill, which could include forcing some unemployed to do community work after two years on benefits.

‘Not palatable’

In March, the government’s Welfare Reform Act received Royal Assent. That act – which applies to England, Scotland and Wales – introduces an annual cap on benefits and overhauls many welfare payments.

A Downing Street source said on Sunday that Mr Cameron was “starting a debate and setting out some ideas. We are realistic that some of them might not be achievable politically because they’re not palatable to our coalition partners.

“We would like to get moving on these as soon as possible but we might not be able to get it done until after 2015.”

In recent weeks the numbers of people claiming housing benefit reached five million for the first time.

Chancellor George Osborne indicated in his March Budget that the welfare bill should be cut by another £10bn between 2015 – the expected year of the next election – and 2017. That is on top of the £18bn of cuts during the current parliament.

For Labour, shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne called it a “very hazy and half-baked plan from the prime minister, when what we really need is a serious back-to-work programme”.

“You have to remember that housing benefit is available to a lot of people who are in work and perhaps on low incomes, so for a lot of young families with their first feet on the career ladder this plan could actually knock them off the career ladder,” he told the BBC.


If I’m not mistaken it’s been around two years that I have been saying that the so called Big Society is a big con and the Tories in my opinion took from Peter to give to Paul which is the code word for work on the cheap by citing to the public that we are all in it together but are we all in it together.

No we are not. It’s the few that implement the cuts and it’s the many that pays for it. When the Tories decides to goes it alone to cut benefits this brings to mind that they have no concept of social policies on how communities are being affected and I would go as far to say that it is a idea that panders to the few millionaires who never been out of work.

Most people especially the young people who are from working class backgrounds tries to clam the ladder are either held back because of the social norms held by society. Not everybody are cut out to be doctors, solicitors etc.

The coalition would have you believing that it was the previous govt fault for recession. Let us remember both previous and present govts went down this road before playing the blame game as part of sound bite which is easy to say and pander to the media.

Bold governments brings about change in to economy by bring growth . The coalition would have you believe that the double dip recession did not happen under their watch.

I must say I concur with Dr. Williams quote:

Rowan Williams says the prime minister’s flagship policy – designed to empower local people and communities – conceals “a deeply damaging withdrawal of the state from its responsibilities to the most vulnerable”.

The criticism is made in a new book and it comes as Mr Cameron revealed he is considering axing most of the £1.8bn in housing benefit paid to the under-25s.

Mr Williams, who steps down in December after 10 years in his role, writes: “The big society, introduced in the run-up to the last election as a major political idea for the coming generation, has suffered from a lack of definition about the means by which such ideals can be realised.

“Big society rhetoric is all too often heard by many therefore as aspirational waffle designed to conceal a deeply damaging withdrawal of the state from its responsibilities to the most vulnerable.”

He suggests that ministers have fuelled cynicism over the Cameron vision by failing to define what the role of citizens should be.

“And if the big society is anything better than a slogan looking increasingly threadbare as we look at our society reeling under the impact of public spending cuts, then discussion on this subject has got to take on board some of those issues about what it is to be a citizen and where it is that we most deeply and helpfully acquire the resources of civic identity and dignity.”

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of young people could be stripped of housing benefit and forced to live with their parents as part of a new welfare crackdown signalled by Mr Cameron.

I am sure Rachael Reeves MP will contact me if I get this quote wrong to put me right when she said on Skynews:

“Government needs to get economy moving again to get the benefits bill down and more people back to work”

Here comes another interesting quote from from Tom Watson as he tweeted yesterday:

“DWP stats: 385,010 under 25s claim Housing Benefit; 204,450 have children. All affected by Cam’s announcement today.

Homeless charities and trade unionists savaged the PM’s “outrageous” new plan to pull the housing benefit rug out from under young adults, outlined in an interview with the Mail on Sunday.

Mr Cameron, who has a personal fortune of at least £4 million, condemned the 380,000 young people in Britain on housing benefits, averaging just £90 a week.

He claimed that the benefit sent a signal to people that they were “better off not working, or working less.

“We need a bigger debate about welfare and what we expect of people.”

But experts said it would just force even more people out onto the streets.

Earlier this month the Department for Communities and Local Government reported there were 16 per cent more homeless people than a year ago.

The department had already counted 50,290 cases in 2011 – a rise of 14 per cent from 2010 – and there are no signs things will get better this year.

Homeless charity Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said he knew only too well what housing benefit meant to young people and that it was “outrageous” to even think of stripping it from them.

“At a time when many young people are facing significant difficulties in finding work, these proposals would leave thousands with nowhere else to go.”

The government already imposed a “completely contradictory” penalty for families on housing benefits who let adult children stay at home and this would just tear a bigger hole in the “housing safety net.”

“Sadly it seems inevitable that we’ll see an increase in homelessness as a result.”

Official figures for February to April showed that over a million young people aged 16-24 were out of work, up 7.5 per cent on 2011 and roughly a third more than when the economy fell of a cliff four years ago.

But the PM and his millionaire ministers had learnt nothing, he said.

“Not only have they dumped more than a million young people on the jobs scrap heap but they now want to force them to live on the streets as well.

“Treat young people with that sort of aggressive arrogance and contempt and you are creating the perfect conditions for more riots on our streets,” he said.

The north-east of England is likely to be hit hardest, with over 30,000 young adults out of work already.

At 14.6 per cent cent, the region has the highest proportion of unemployed young people in Britain.

Easington, County Durham, Labour MP Grahame Morris told the Star that in his consitituency alone more than one in 10 young adults didn’t have jobs.

Mr Cameron’s impulse was “against every principle of a civilised society,” he said.


2 responses to “Another attack from Cameron suggests cutting housing benefit for under-25s

  1. Interesting thing about housing benefit. If you think about it, it’s not really paid to the claimant. In reality it’s paid to the landlord. Indeed in many cases it’s paid direct tot he landlord and never passes through the tenants hands. If you want to attack anyone about the level of housoing benefit why not go after the landlords that inflate rents and charge prestige prices for homes little better than a slum.

    There’s another tranche of benefits that aren’t really paiud to the person recieving them, the means tested in-work benefits. These exist because there are people in full time work who aren’t being paid a living wage. We’re not talking about people choosing to work part time and expecting the state to make up their pay or illiterates straight out of school who can’t get a real job (not that that would be an excuse). This is people with good qualifications, degress and diplomas, and good experience who, due to the downward pressure on pay for the last 30 years, can’t get a job that pays a decent rate. In 2010-11 that was £28.9billion paid out in working tax credits, £28.9billion to subsidise employers by enabling them to pay sub-living wage because the state will make it up. If companies were required to pay a living wage that would be a saved for the public purse. Ok, there’s a chance that some small companies cannot afford to pay a living wage and stay in business. Fine, let them apply for credits to allow them to pay a living wage and means test them. Make sure that there isn’t any unreasonable pay disparity in the organisation, make sure there are no dividends being paid or excessive drawings. Above all make sure that it’s clear that it’s not the workers who are at fault here, it’s the employers!

  2. I just don’t think it will work from the outset! A narrow minded attack on the poor. Where is the focus on jobs, then we can look at helping these people into jobs once they actually exist.

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