Monday, 8 October 2012

Updated - impact on under-25s in Camden of Housing Benefit changes

(Updated from July) David Cameron's plan to cut Housing Benefit for under-25s in Camden could see nearly 1000 people forced to move from the borough or moved further into poverty, according to statistics we have analysed at Camden council. 

The plans, first mooted in the Mail on Sunday earlier this year and reheated in time for Tory Party Conference, will disproportionately hit young people in the social housing sector.
Our analysis of these changes on under 25s show that they seem to impact young people in social housing three times more than young people in private rented accommodation.

41% of LHA claimants who are under 25 are in council housing and a further 35% are in social housing, with less than a quarter in private rented accommodation. 

Typically young people in this situation are those who have succeeded to tenancies from their parents, or people who are very vulnerable and have found housing.  Help with rents which are also low suggest many are unemployed or on low wages. 

The various impacts of these changes have been discussed by homelessness charities and others - as has the social cleansing aspect, something we feel strongly about in Camden. Shelter argues that the group most affected by the government's proposals would be young adults who do not have a family home to move back to, including care leavers and orphans - but also young people who have:

• Abusive parents/step parents/partners – this will be those with convictions and those without convictions but where violence still exists
• Severely overcrowded parental homes – likely to be exacerbated by under-occupation housing benefit cut
• Parents who have downsized
• Parents who have moved abroad 
• Parents who have divorced – children reaching maturity is the 'peak' point for divorcing parents
• Parents in prison
• Family breakdown – parents who refuse to accommodate children
• Parents on low incomes who will be hit by non-dependant deduction should their child move back home when universal credit comes in.

For young people who have lost parents, but remain in the area, the changes may well uproot them from their neighbourhood, for vulnerable people getting settled after trauma, this is another unwelcome change.

Richard Exell Touchstone blog argues that this target for the government is not that big anyway - 2.4% of total recipients.  

But then, banging on an empty vessel is guaranteed to make a loud sound.

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