Housing benefit cut 'will see rise in homelessness'
Poll shows majority concerned about fallout from Cameron's plan to end aid for under-25s
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Thursday 05 July 2012
A majority of the public believes that David Cameron's plan to end housing benefit for under-25s would result in more young people sleeping rough, according to a poll for The Independent.
The Prime Minister's controversial idea, floated in a speech last week, has been attacked by homelessness charities, who warn it will leave young adults without a roof over their head.
The plan is also under fire from the Liberal Democrats, who are warning they will block it if the Conservatives try to bring it in before the 2015 election. "The mood is 'over our dead bodies'," one senior Liberal Democrat source said yesterday.
ComRes tested the charities' claims in a survey of 1,000 people. Asked whether ending housing benefit for people under 25 would inevitably cause some young people to be left sleeping rough on the streets, 59 per cent agreed and 35 per cent disagreed.
Surprisingly, there were few differences by age or social group. The findings raise questions over the Conservatives' claims that their welfare policies are popular with the public.
Even Tory supporters were split down the middle on whether young people would be made homeless. While 47 per cent of Tory voters agreed with the charities' claims, the same proportion disagreed. Two in three supporters of the Liberal Democrats (67 per cent) and Labour (64 per cent) agreed that young people would be forced onto the streets.
Mr Cameron insisted that housing benefit would not be withdrawn from vulnerable groups such as those with a destructive home life or leaving foster care, but suggested that more under-25s should live with their parents to cut the state's £2bn-a-year bill for their housing costs.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: "We fear cutting housing benefit for under-25s will inevitably lead to a rise in homelessness, and this poll shows the majority of the public share that concern. While excesses in the system should be rooted out, abolishing the entire safety net for young people is not the way to go about it."
Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, the national charity for the single homeless, said: "Tens of thousands of young people rely on housing benefit to literally keep a roof over their heads. For the vast majority, particularly those who have experienced family breakdown, returning to live with their parents is just not an option. Taking away their right to housing benefit would leave many no alternative but to sleep rough."
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Does the path to true love really lie in these 36 questions?
- 4 Presidential optical illusion offers clues to how brain processes faces
- 5 Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' rediscovered after 35 years
King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Presidential optical illusion offers clues to how brain processes faces
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Louise Mensch says 'F**K YOU' in explosive tweets about David Cameron, Saudi Embassy and the Queen over King Abdullah tributes
£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This web-based lead generation ...
£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...