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Cut housing benefit for under-25s? Yes, but be careful, say Tory members

4 December 2012

10:00 AM

4 December 2012

10:00 AM

George Osborne might have failed to get his housing benefit cut for the under-25s past the Lib Dems in time for the Autumn Statement, but, as James reported in his Mail on Sunday column this week, the Tories will be keen to put it in their 2015 manifesto, partly to show voters what a majority Conservative government could achieve without the shackles of coalition.

I understand the party has been consulting members on its welfare policy in the past few weeks, and unsurprisingly, the response has been enormous. In fact, the policy forum hasn’t seen such interest from members since it asked them what they wanted to see in terms of local transport policy (apparently this really aerated those surveyed last winter).

Interestingly, the response has been a little more nuanced than you might expect. While members are largely supportive of the idea, they have raised concerns about the effect of cutting support to young people leaving care (something former children’s minister Tim Loughton is also worried about), who do not have the family network that other under-25s might fall back on. The discussion paper also asked whether under-25s should be eligible for council housing, and this provoked a similar response. The results are still being collated, but it’s clear that to keep Tory voters and MPs who are experts in this field happy, the 2015 pledge on benefit cuts will need to include some clear caveats.

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  • 26 year old

    I hope this policy never comes in to play. To be honest i do not think it will. It does not have anything to back it up.

  • barbie

    It was a Tory government who gave council housing to single mothers, we now have an army of them claiming benefits by the millions. The young again, have seen the opportunity of having their own place helped by housing benefit, and taken it. Most have left home to have freedom they don’t get with mom and dad. Of course if they move back in, mom and dad’s benefits will automatically be reduced as well, is this the idea? Mom and dad might refuse to have them, then what? While we house immigrants for free, we are charging our own and demonising them in the process. This won’t work, and when they hit the streets and begin going into crime what then? What if they begin to riot? it just takes a spark in a hot summer, but the latter its self would be a miracle. In all seriousness, this is a policy of greed for more tax cuts for the well off, and those who propose it are being short sighted to the long term problems that might emerge. I remember the 80s riots, enemployment was the main cause, and not hope of getting a job, while tax cuts were enjoyed by the well off. It caused ill feeling and then when it errupted no one was to blame except the poor uneduated masses. It won’t work a second time as history will show. Conservatives should learn that sharing is best, until they do encouraging cuts won’t work, unless we have jobs for the unemployed, and that’s the main problem, no jobs to go to, no education and training on offer that’s worth going for, while you have benefits. Untill this happens we will go round in circles of hate and reprisals with different governments.

  • nick porter

    What happens if under 25s start voting?What happens when all those trapped in rented properties start voting?.What legal basis is there to make a parent responsible for an adult child?Is a parent no longer able to decide which adults live in their home?
    How are offspring of a previous relationship to be treated?

  • Jules

    I think it is disgusting to even suggest this policy. Under 25’s who receive housing benefit are either vulnerable and disadvantaged (care leavers, abuse victims etc) or IN WORK but not being paid enough to afford housing costs. Are you really suggesting making all these people homeless? We will end up with a situation where, an English person aged 24 years old will be made homeless but a recently arrived 26 year old immigrant will be entitled to housing. This is NOT acceptable. It is cruel and ill thought out policies like this that will drive voters into the arms of Labour. Maybe companies should take less profits and pay higher wages? That will reduce the need for housing benefit.

    How about only allowing British passport holders to access housing, welfare benefits and healthcare? Restricting all entitlements to British citizens only will save billions.

    • barbie

      How I agree with you comments, this country is foolish and have weak MPs that’s the problem that’s why I now vote UKIP>

  • itdoesntaddup

    Perhaps support could be offered to married under 25s, with an encouragement for single under 25s (including single parents) to seek more support from their families.

    • Jules

      Single under 25’s with children are the ones who need help the most.

      This policy will not see the light of day because it will be impossible to implement. Why should an English 24 year old be denied housing but a 26 year old immigrant be entitled to it?

  • Archimedes

    The Tories are going to have to be a little more radical if they want to win the next election. These kinds of policies are a continuation, and beefing up, of the existing policies which is just going to make it easy for Labour to hold the Tories to account on their record. If they didn’t get a majority in 2010 with a slimmed down version, they’re certainly not going to get a majority in 2015 with a beefed up one.

    What they need is something thoroughly un-conservative: a vision, so that when Labour challenges them on their record, it is Labour that ends up sounding stuck in the past.

    • dalai guevara

      What could be ‘more radical’? Provision of council homes only for people with 3+ caucasian offspring under 40?

      We are fast moving towards a Spanish or Italian society where kids live at home until married off. Only that our social cohesion went down the drain a long time ago. All this policy will do is cause extreme hardship. Emergency measures will almost certainly need to be taken to clear up the carnage, so why bother with this grandstanding?

      • Archimedes

        Our social cohesion went down the drain because kids started thinking that they didn’t need mum and dad anymore – they could just get a council house. Our social cohesion went down the drain because we started thinking “oh – it’s not our job to look after granny: that’s why we pay taxes isn’t it? To avoid inconveniencing ourselves”. Of course, let’s not try to rectify any of that – let’s not try to make people accountable for themselves and those around them: that would require ghastly decisions – much better just to maintain the status quo, eh?

        “Extreme hardship”…I think you mean “kick up the arse”.

        • dalai guevara

          Good point, I agree entirely. My father in law now lives with us, so did both my grannies before that. But this is not possible for everyone, in fact, the shoebox housing provided since the Eighties has made this nearly impossible – there is an entire generation out there now, who will never leave their luxury closet flats.

          But my actual point is this: why limit housing provision -when required- to one age group only? What is the difference between a broken family when you are 24 or 26? According to the government, there is one. Can you tell me what it is?

          • Archimedes

            The rhetoric has to be tougher than the policy. The policy can still pick up the cases at the margins that you’re talking about.

            • dalai guevara

              The policy will not account for living rooms you cannot swing a cat in. The policy is based on ageism, not requirement – just like the higher education policy is based on money, not ability.

              This message is wrong. Refine the message so it can be supported.

          • barbie

            I think you will find the tory policies will refer to under occupied houses in the social sector, not only under 25’s. They are thinking of limiting housing benefit for this sector like they have already done for the over 25s. As for social housing in general, many, house just 2 people in 3 bedroomed houses the new rules apply, less housing benefit for the bedrooms not occupied. It does no apply to the elderly, yet. It could be determined as discrimortory via human rights laws??? I think its £14 for one spare room, £24 for two rooms, less housing benefit. It would not apply to private housing as I understand.

        • Yoann


          That is just not true. Hundreds of thousands of ‘adult children’ are living at home, more than at any other time. This is due to the lack of affordable housing and low wages. If anything under 35’s are relying on their parents and need them too much, not as you put it, ‘they don’t need mum and dad anymore’. It’s the exact opposite.

          People cannot look after old relatives anymore because now a family can barely survive when two people are working full time.

          Your post shows you have no idea what you are talking about.

          • barbie

            I agree, social problems will be worse with this policy. The elderly have so far been excempt from cuts, but only for this parliament, in the next we can expect the onslaught to begin. That is if they get in, which I suspect the Tories won’t. The young could go back home to mom and dad, if they are prepared to have them. What about if they have no parents? This is short sightedness on the Tories part, coupled with the idea of tax cuts at any cost. They will reap what they sow as they did in the 80s.

      • Carol-Ann

        It’s impossible to turn Britain into the latin culture of the family. Just like it’s impossible to make British drinking culture the same as that of Italy or France.