HOUSING Tax would ease homelessness

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The Government should spend 10 per cent of the windfall tax on getting the young homeless off benefits and into full-time training and employment, the homeless charity Shelter claims today.

Coupled with 8 per cent of capital receipts from the sale of council houses, this would release nearly pounds 140m a year over five years which could meet the housing needs of a tenth of the 250,000 young unemployed people targeted under the Government's proposed welfare-to-work scheme.

Increased house building funded by the initiative would also create 6,750 jobs in two years, increasing tax revenues and reducing social security spending by pounds 61m over the first two years.

"The Government's commitment to getting 250,00 young people into work is an excellent first step," said Chris Holmes, director of Shelter.

"However its success will be hampered if at its heart it does not acknowledge that homelessness and bad housing create extra hurdles which, in turn, prevent young people getting on and completing training courses.

A Fresh Start: Housing and training for young homeless people, pounds 2, Shelter, 88 Old Street, London EC1V 9HU