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CIH raises concerns over Osborne's 'dangerous' plan to cut housing benefit for under 25s

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CIH raises concerns over Osborne's 'dangerous' plan to cut housing benefit for under 25s

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Bill Payments, Central Government

CIH raises concerns over Osborne's 'dangerous' plan to cut housing benefit for under 25s CIH raises concerns over Osborne's 'dangerous' plan to cut housing benefit for under 25s

The Chartered Institute of Housing has warned that George Osborne's plans to cut housing benefit for under 25s is a "dangerous move" that could undermine efforts to rebuild the economy.

The Chancellor announced the proposal as part of planned £25 billion cuts to the welfare budget over the next two years.

Responding to Mr Osborne's speech, Grainia Long, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), said: “In an attempt to control costs, government is concentrating its efforts on entitlement to benefits rather than the fundamental problems in our housing and labour markets.

“CIH has already warned that cutting housing benefit for under 25s would be a dangerous move. It is difficult to build the economy without a young, mobile workforce.

"It would mean that young people would be unwilling to take risks such as moving for work because there would be no safety net for them. It also fails to take into account the reality of many people’s lives – many under 25s will have paid tax and national insurance for several years before needing to claim benefits.

“If the government really wants to cut the housing benefit bill, it should look at tackling the UK’s housing crisis by building more homes. The reason the housing benefit bill is so high is that the cost of housing is becoming unaffordable for many people, including an increasing number of people in work.”

She added: “We must remember that the numbers of high-earning people living in social housing are very small, even by government’s own estimates. The government is already consulting on changing the law to allow landlords to charge higher rents to those on higher incomes, which is prudent as landlords have the local expertise to identify the most sensible approach.”

Denise Hatton, chief executive of YMCA England, said housing benefit provided a "safety net" for young people due to the limited number of education and employment options available to them.

She said: "We would love to see a situation where every young person under 25 is – in the words of David Cameron - 'earning or learning'. However the reality of the matter is that education and employment options are limited and more young people, through no fault of their own, are finding themselves in need of support. Simply removing their access to benefits will not resolve this problem.

"There are many reasons why young people feel unable to continue living in at home – from family breakdown, death or illness of a parent or a concern for their safety. Many under 25s may also have children of their own to support.

"While we, and those we work with, would welcome initiatives to get more young people into education, employment or training, this does not take away the need for the safety net housing benefit is supposed to provide."

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