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Housing Benefits to be Axed for 18-21 Year Olds

Louise Owen-McGee 9 March 2017

The government announced on Friday 3 March that it plans to end housing support payments to young people under 21 years of age. 

The changes will affect new Universal Credit claimants after 1 April 2017 and could have very serious implications for vulnerable young people. The controversial plans, first made public by David Cameron and George Osborne in 2015 were a key element within the Conservative party’s manifesto and have now been released in the form of secondary legislation.

The announcement has been challenged by P3 and many other homelessness charities who are dismayed at the removal of this ‘essential safety net’ and condemned by Labour’s shadow Secretary of State for Housing John Healey.

Our CEO Mark Simms added his concern, stating: “I’m deeply worried about the impact of this policy. It won’t save much in real cash in benefits, but will cost millions in dealing with the resulting crisis and untold misery of the vulnerable young people who are impacted by these changes.

“Whilst some exemptions have been included to assist cases where it is not appropriate for an individual to live with their parents ‘due to a threat of violence or other reasons’, there still remains the very real fear that the changes will impact hardest on the most vulnerable young people – those from LGBT communities or estranged from family – who feel unable to disclose their personal circumstances.

He pledged: “P3 will continue to work tirelessly with young people who are homeless, supporting them to access accommodation and the necessary finance to secure a future that isn’t defined by isolation and exclusion. We will continue to make a real and lasting difference in people’s lives.”

CLICK HERE to view the new secondary legislation in full.