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Housing benefit change 'will make thousands in Devon and Cornwall homeless'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 19, 2012

Housing benefit change 'will make thousands in Devon and Cornwall homeless'

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Cutting young people's housing benefits would leave thousands homeless in the South West, a leading charity has warned.

Almost 30,000 young people in Devon and Cornwall would suffer if the Government abolished housing benefit for under-25s, according to the housing charity Crisis.

David Cameron told this year's Conservative Party Conference that instead of claiming housing benefit, under-25s should move back in with their parents.

Some 29,970 young people currently claim housing benefit in the region, of whom more than half are raising children and 20% are working.

Jim McKenzie, of CAB Cornwall, said Mr Cameron's comment meant under-25s would only be able to leave home if they could "immediately" afford to pay full rent.

"Over 90% of all new housing benefit claimants, regardless of age, are in work but by definition cannot afford to pay current rent levels despite that. A large number of young people would be limited to looking for work local to their family home, the option of 'getting on their bikes' will be restricted to those who can guarantee finding well paid work.

"With abuse of children and young people being a major news item at the moment, is restricting access to HB, potentially forcing young people to stay in an unsafe environment or risk living on the streets, really a good idea?"

Robb Campbell, chief executive of the charity Shelter, said: "Young people in the South West and across the country are already facing an incredibly tough time, with student debts, high unemployment, and a housing crisis that means many can't find an affordable place to live.

"Most people under 25 who can live with their parents already do so, but not everyone has this option. Lots have adult responsibilities of their own, such as a young family to support or a job that they're working hard to keep. Others have left home to escape family problems. These proposals would leave them with nowhere to go.

"Rather than punishing young people for no reason other than their age, the government should be on the side of those who are striving to get on and make their way in life."

The homeless charity is campaigning against removing the benefit, claiming that moving back home would be impossible for many young people.

It has warned that for many young people, housing benefit is all that stands between them and homelessness.

Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, said: "It would be unworkable and irresponsible to withdraw housing benefit from under-25s at a time of high rents and youth unemployment."

Last year ten thousand people nationally were accepted as homeless because their parents would not or could not house them, and more than a third of those were aged 16-24.

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  • coggers  |  November 20 2012, 1:19AM

    I am 22 work part time I get a little help with housing benefit due to my low income. I have been at my job for 5 years now nowhere has fulltime to be honest lucky to have a job to whoever has one these days. I could not possibly afford my full rent as i struggle now. I still work though and pay council tax. I moved out of parents due to problems I have not come this far to be put back to square 1 maybe if we stopped buying stupid palm trees would be a start on saving!

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  • mj1953  |  November 19 2012, 8:43PM

    Silverspoon Cameron should enter the real world and realise that not all under 25's can live with their parents. Some of them get kicked out as soon as the child benefit and tax credits end. Others leave to escape violence and abuse!

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  November 19 2012, 6:02PM

    These sorts of stories give me a deep sense of satisfaction:] At long last we have an admin who have the guts to reserve social funding for those in need rather than some spotty youth who's fallen out with his mum. For too long gov after gov have mollycoddled the electorate in an attempt to bribe thier way back into power. For us workers that produce the wealth that this benefit gravy train is built on it is a relief to see its foundations kicked away. Left home when i was 18 and never needed any benefits despite several recessions.

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  • nick113  |  November 19 2012, 4:45PM

    @wildchild22. Maggie didn't sell off council houses to her pals, she (and subsequent governments both Tory and Labour) sold them to the council tenants who were delighted to own their own homes, and typically set about improving them rather than wait for the council to put up more grotty wallpaper. Selling council homes neither increases nor decreases the number of homes, it gives people responsibility for the house they live in, which is generally a big step in the right direction.

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  • robocop1982  |  November 19 2012, 3:38PM

    if you get a sense of satisfaction from stories like this then you must be pretty sick. THis will effect people with or without children. THE fact we have plenty of free open land and spaces not even used by anybody in fields and on dartmoor. WE could build wooden cabins for people and do good for people instead of making people salves to money and greedy corporate scumbags. I know it sounds harsh but these people who are enforcing these fascist rules are gonna die one day so we should have the right to live as we decide not what somebody else tells us. why should a short lived species have such a short lived existence wasted by power manipulators. THey force your children to have birth certificates. YOu can't even have kids without them being forcibly tagged with a piece of paper and controlled. so either way you look at it that is not freedom. freedom would be given freedom of choice about your child being born. in some peoples cultures they do not even name their children. we live in a forced culture. THese indo europeans have caused nothing but trouble. Just look at what they did to the natives of america and canada and imagine what they will do to us. indo europeans wiped out entire cultures from this planet. WHat they did in Dakota was terrible.

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  • mygodlesslife  |  November 19 2012, 3:14PM

    I think capping rent is fair, and I recognise that demand would fall if the Governments plans were put into action. If demand falls, then landlords will not be able to cover their costs and house prices will fall with the over supply of houses that this will entail. What with the Council beginning to realise that discounts on empty homes and this new policy, it appears to me that there will be a glut of housing coming onto the market at significantly lower values than they are at present. Whilst this creates a negative equity for a number of those who do occupy their own homes, they are at least lucky enough to own them, and with lower property values, more local people will be able to afford them. This would, in turn, relieve the number of people on the housing waiting list and might actually benefit communities that have been second-home-bombed in the past. I cannot support a blanket ban on housing benefit for the under 25's. It is unconscionable, although if younger adults were encouraged to stay in the family home - as opposed to being forced - it would be an ideal situation from a societal position; if not the poor young adults wishing to establish themselves independently. It make encourage them to study harder and go away to university (if they are not also priced out of that. It all looks a bit of a mess, and I do not see the Government or the Council doing nearly enough to deal with the situation. Clearly, the shifts in direction need to be of seismic proportions.

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  November 19 2012, 2:23PM

    Since under 25's with children would be prioritised for housing i don't see the problem with this policy.

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  • wildchild22  |  November 19 2012, 2:10PM

    Yes, cap rents. But wait a mo - if a landlord can't get back the money to pay the mortgage he's going to sell up, or not go into being a landlord in the first place. Then there will be fewer places to rent. Thanks to Maggie's 'sell off the family jewels to all my pals' policies, there aren't enough council places left to live in and no more are being built. So the number of properties available to rent goes down and, in a seller's market, prices always go up. Well done the Conservatives - yet another own goal that won't affect you or your Eton-attending mates.

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  • JJLee  |  November 19 2012, 12:47PM

    Spot on Nick113

  • robocop1982  |  November 19 2012, 12:34PM

    the scumbag government who are killin people don't care about the suffering they cause as they know thy wont be around for ever. WHat scares me is that the people who rule us want to drag everybody down with them in the process as they know they are going to faid away. THey suffer so they want to make others suffer along with them. let them continue digging their own hole deeper and deeper. all the bad they do will come back on them when they realize you can't eat money. expect mass civil war in the uk

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