Hundreds of thousands of young people could be stripped of housing benefit and forced to live with parents

 

Hundreds of thousands of young people could be stripped of housing benefit and forced to live with their parents as part of a new welfare crackdown signalled by David Cameron.

The Prime Minister insisted the system was giving the wrong incentives as he urged more action to prevent feckless families relying on state handouts.

The comments, in an interview with the Mail on Sunday, come ahead of a keynote speech on welfare Mr Cameron is due to deliver next week.

The measures said to be under consideration include:

* Scrapping most of the £1.8 billion in housing benefits paid to 380,000 under 25s, worth an average £90 a week, forcing them to support themselves or live with mum and dad instead.

* Stopping the £70-a-week dole payment for individuals who do not try hard enough to get work.

* Forcing a hard core of unemployed to do community work after two years - or lose all their benefits.

According to the newspaper, ministers are also looking again at plans to limit child benefit to a couple's first three children - although Mr Cameron will stop short of raising the idea.

Mr Cameron said the existing benefits system was "sending out strange signals on working, housing and families".

He went on: "A couple will say, 'We are engaged, we are both living with our parents, we are trying to save before we get married and have children and be good parents.

"'But how does it make us feel, Mr Cameron, when we see someone who goes ahead, has the child, gets the council home, gets the help that isn't available to us?'

"One is trapped in a welfare system that discourages them from working, the other is doing the right thing and getting no help."

Asked if he would take action against large families who were paid large sums in benefits, the premier replied: "This is a difficult area but it is right to pose questions about it.

"At the moment the system encourages people not to work and have children, but we should help people to work and have children."

Mr Cameron's proposal to axe housing benefit for the under-25s would include exemptions for special cases, such as domestic violence.

But he insisted: "We are spending nearly £2 billion on housing benefit for under-25s - a fortune. We need a bigger debate about welfare and what we expect of people. The system currently sends the signal you are better off not working, or working less."

Mr Cameron indicated that he favours new curbs on Jobseeker's Allowance, demanding the unemployed do more to find work. "We aren't even asking them, 'Have you got a CV ready to go?"' he said.

A hard core of 5,000-10,000 regarded as workshy could be forced to take part in community work if they do not find employment or training after two years.

The Prime Minister's hard line on benefits could exacerbate strains with Liberal Democrat coalition partner Nick Clegg, after a damaging split over proposals for scrapping GCSEs this week.

But Mr Cameron said: "As leader of a political party as well as running a coalition it's right sometimes to make a more broad-ranging speech."

A senior Lib Dem source said they were "incredibly relaxed" about Mr Cameron's intervention on welfare.

"This is the Prime Minister floating stuff as Conservative Party leader," the source said. "They have had a bit of a rough ride over the last few weeks and he needs to speak to his base. We understand that."

The party was "fully committed" to "making work pay", but would not necessarily agree with everything the premier said.

Mr Clegg will be making his own speeches to "differentiate" the coalition parties, although they were governing together.

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves said the Government was spending more on unemployment benefits and housing benefit.

She told the Sky News Murnaghan programme: "So if the Government are really serious about dealing with the benefits bill, they've got to get the economy moving again, they've got to get people back to work.

"If you've got 2.6 million people out of work like we do at the moment, if you've got a million young people out of work, you're paying more out in benefits than you're getting less in, in tax revenue.

"That's not going to get the economy moving again, but also it's making it harder to get the deficit down as well. So to get the benefits bill down you need an economy that's growing and you need more people in work."

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne said: "This is a hazy and half-baked plan when we need a serious back to work programme for young families.

"Many young families with their first foot on the career ladder will be knocked off if help with their rent is taken away. And young families that want to work won't be able to move where the jobs are.

"The way to get the spiralling benefits bill down is start getting young people and young families back to work. That's why Labour's Real Jobs Guarantee financed by a tax on bankers' bonuses is the right thing to do.

"I'm afraid this is another smokescreen from an out-of-touch Prime Minister who's now put our country back into a double dip recession, forced up youth unemployment to over a million and is doing nothing to fix the unfolding chaos at the DWP. "

PA

News
Brand said he
people
Sport
Adam Lallana, Juan Cala, Andy Carroll and Cameron Jerome
sportThe latest news and scores
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
tvGrace Dent on TV
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Sport
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives in the rain during the qualifying session of the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai
sport
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
peopleOrlando Bloom the pin-up hero is making a fresh start
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Life & Style
The North Korean TV advert for Taedonggang beer, that became a YouTube hit
food + drinkAnd what did it take to set up a taste test back in Wiltshire?
Arts & Entertainment
filmLife for Leslie Mann's can be challenging sometimes
Voices
For music lovers: John Cusack with his vinyl collection in 'High Fidelity'
voices...but don't forget rest of the year
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit