Sunday, 25 November 2012

Tory Plans to ban Housing Benefit for people aged under 25 - study shows impact on every area in the UK


A Freedom of Information request from the Department of Work & Pensions (here) has shed light on the disastrous impact the Tory policy to cut Housing Benefit for people under the age of 25 would have.  There are 381,120 persons in Great Britain in receipt of Housing Benefit that are under the age of 25 (as of Dec. 2011). If they were the head of household then cutting the policy could affect up to three times that figure which would be more than 1.1 million persons. If you want to see the numbers affected in every area of England, I have put it on a table for you to access here (this link).

You may not know it but Tory plans to strip Housing Benefit from under-25s is at an advanced stage. The graph above shows that the majority of those affected will live in large urban areas such as Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds where there are more acute housing shortages, long waiting lists and rising rents. The average rent in the UK is at a record high of £8,928 a year already (here), and with wages stagnating it is no wonder that it is now 14% cheaper to own a home than rent it. To deny under 25 year olds access to Housing Benefit is condemning under-25s to homelessness, acute poverty or unstable housing arrangements. 

66% of women leave their parents home by the age of 24, and the proportion of males is much smaller at closer to one third. Thus, this policy will directly impact upon young women more. What's more, there are 1 million private rental homes where single parent families exist, and it is logical that a portion of these families will also be affected. Tory Housing Benefit policy will force single parents, young women and the poor into agreeing to co-habit with people that may pose a financial or physical threat to their well being. Make no mistake, some more children will grow up in abusive households as a result of this policy. More of our young adults will exposed to drug usage and petty crime. 

Anyone who has co-habited in shared accommodation with strangers will testify that they suffered an increased risk of unpaid utility bills, poorer housing repair, and in some cases increased instances of alcoholism and petty crime. When the government refuses these 381,120 young adults housing benefit they are in effect condemning them to a more precarious existence. The majority of private rental homes are already deemed sub-standard. Denying under 25s Housing Benefit will mean that these are the types of homes these young adults will be forced to take.  The government continues to ignore the number 1 problem in our housing market and that is that the state needs to build more homes. Here is my costed plan for them to build 100,000 Co-Op homes a year (at this link).

6 comments:

Dirty Trainers said...

My God was hope does society have with these lunatics running the asylum

Sykobee said...

Housing benefit is a massive disincentive (or maybe I should say, it's a hard to escape trap) to work and make your own way in life. It should exist for those people who are unfortunate enough to be in a position where they are unable to do so, for whatever reason.

... but people can't get jobs because of the economic climate? Well, they should move to an area where they can [get a job | afford a house on limited funds]. That's what people do. Of course the local eligibility criteria for housing that councils have is probably blocking such things.

If you work hard and get a job, you will most likely spend your entire 20s renting a room or a studio flat unless you are lucky to get a good job or have a long term stable relationship with someone else in a similar position. So why should the reward for not working at this age be a full house?

... but if you reduce housing benefit for under-25s / "limited tax contributors" to be a basic "living assistance" that has enough funds to rent a room in a particular area of the country, then that will produce an incentive for women to become single mothers in order to get a house. IME babies aren't a get out of jail card, they're serious work, not a means to an end.

As for unpaid bills, force utility companies to recognise shared houses and bill occupants separately. Indeed there is probably room for a company to introduce such a package - they would probably get a lot of business from it.

However I think your idea of getting these people building housing that they can then live in is great. They will get invaluable skills, they will get a home guaranteed for a certain amount of time, and the council will get long term social housing. I think there is a big need for small homes - I'm talking about ~300sqft well designed but compact homes for young people, both for those in work (as they will be cheap, by being small) and those on benefits (as they won't cost as much to the taxpayer).

Sykobee said...

Housing benefit is a massive disincentive (or maybe I should say, it's a hard to escape trap) to work and make your own way in life. It should exist for those people who are unfortunate enough to be in a position where they are unable to do so, for whatever reason.

... but people can't get jobs because of the economic climate? Well, they should move to an area where they can [get a job | afford a house on limited funds]. That's what people do. Of course the local eligibility criteria for housing that councils have is probably blocking such things.

If you work hard and get a job, you will most likely spend your entire 20s renting a room or a studio flat unless you are lucky to get a good job or have a long term stable relationship with someone else in a similar position. So why should the reward for not working at this age be a full house?

... but if you reduce housing benefit for under-25s / "limited tax contributors" to be a basic "living assistance" that has enough funds to rent a room in a particular area of the country, then that will produce an incentive for women to become single mothers in order to get a house. IME babies aren't a get out of jail card, they're serious work, not a means to an end.

As for unpaid bills, force utility companies to recognise shared houses and bill occupants separately. Indeed there is probably room for a company to introduce such a package - they would probably get a lot of business from it.

However I think your idea of getting these people building housing that they can then live in is great. They will get invaluable skills, they will get a home guaranteed for a certain amount of time, and the council will get long term social housing. I think there is a big need for small homes - I'm talking about ~300sqft well designed but compact homes for young people, both for those in work (as they will be cheap, by being small) and those on benefits (as they won't cost as much to the taxpayer).

Sykobee said...

I had a long comment, but your comment system ate it when I logged in.

In short - housing benefit is a major problem, it's costly, it's a trap for those dependent upon it, those in work see if as unfair that they're still renting a room whilst someone else has a home (regardless of the fact that it's in a council estate with drug problems and litter on the streets). We need more homes. More small homes - ~350sqft. Cheap to buy for young people in work. Cheap to pay benefits for people who aren't. And if they're built by those on benefits, they get invaluable skills.

christine clifford said...

So what happens to under 25s housed by social services as care leavers of f rom difficult families or to aid independent living? What of under 25s in successful cohabiting relationships, perhaps with children? Single parents? Is there nothing this government will not stoop to?

Richey said...

Housing benefit is NOT a disincentive to work.
In fact, it allows more people to move to or continue living in the areas where employment is available.