By Jade Holden
This week David Cameron announced his desire to scrap housing benefits for those under the age of 25. The proposals aim to cut spending on benefits by nearly £2bn but, fortunately, the PM is under no illusion that a policy like this could become law during this Parliamentary term.
380,000 under-25s currently rely on housing benefit and, under the proposals, would be forced to move back into their parental homes. In the current economic climate, people of all ages are struggling to make ends meet and under-25s are far from exempt from unemployment. In fact, with youth employment, competition for training programs and the costs of higher education all rising, Britain’s youth are currently feeling the full weight of the economic crisis.
It’s fine though, right? How many under-25s would find it difficult to move back home to their parents? I’m sure that every young person in the UK would be more than happy to jeopardise their jobs, social lives and families to head back to their parents’ houses and, as we know, mum and dad ALWAYS have enough space and money to accommodate their adult children. Sadly, this is all unrealistic.
Under-25s already get a reduced rate of JSA than their older counterparts and even the minimum wage is set lower for anybody cheeky enough to try to earn a living before their 21st birthday. Under-25s also have to deal with higher car insurance rates, increased living costs associated with the difficulties in getting a mortgage and, for many, rising university debt.
Even if we ignore the obstacles faced by young people as a rule, what about those unable to work for health reasons? Neither SSP nor ESA are anywhere near enough to live on without housing benefit and the last thing that somebody in receipt of these allowances needs is to have their independence taken away from them.
I wonder if David Cameron has given much thought to those who are estranged from their parents? What about those who no longer have living guardians? The state doesn’t provide foster care to people in their early 20s and these proposals could leave those without parental care homeless. It’s all well and good to suggest that scrapping housing benefits for young people will encourage them to seek help from their families before claiming from the Government, but not everyone has a supportive family to turn to when things go wrong.
Sadly, it’s not just over-25s that are suffering at the moment and it’s unjustifiable to consistently give us the worst end of the deal until the country gets back on its feet, besides, I thought we were all in this together?