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Crisis condemns proposals to cut housing benefit for those under 25

Crisis has condemned proposals suggested by the Prime Minister to remove housing benefit for those aged under 25 and signed a joint letter in response.

Leslie Morphy Crisis' CEO said: "Everyday at Crisis we help vulnerable young people who have become homeless to get back on their feet and rebuild their lives by supporting them to move into accommodation. They will typically have escaped from violent or difficult homes - the Prime Minister's suggestion today that they be forced to return to stay with their families is just not an option. At a time when youth homelessness is already on the rise it would be deeply irresponsible and would cost the taxpayer more in the long-term.

But it is not just the very vulnerable who will lose out. Housing Benefit is rightly claimed by people who are in work but whose pay is too low and local rents are too high - taking housing benefit from them will cause them to have to uproot and most likely lose their job and not be able to find another.

And the proposal does not even make sense - single people under 35 are already only entitled to a much lower rate of housing benefit and the Government's previous changes to housing benefit will force families in social housing to downsize so they have no spare rooms and penalise those with adult children living at home, encouraging them to leave.

Instead of floating such irresponsible ideas the Government should be focusing its energies on helping young people back to work, ensuring there is a strong safety net to prevent, reduce and resolve homelessness for all and building many more genuinely affordable homes."

Read this joint letter published in The Times and signed by Crisis chief executive Leslie Morphy in response to the government's proposals:

Sir,

The Prime Minister's proposals to cut benefits for under-25s will have a disastrous impact on thousands of young adults, especially at a time of record youth unemployment.

Tens of thousands of young people simply don't have stable family and friends to go back to if they lose their job or fall ill. Young mums and dads, people whose parents have downsized or those who have experienced family breakdown will be particularly affected.

You don't root out any excesses in the system by abolishing an entire safety net for young people. They too pay into the state safety net when they are working in the belief that it will be there for them when they need it. Evidence shows that when young adults claim support, many will need it for less than six months before they get back on their feet and into work.

We welcome open debate about the challenge of giving young people a fair start and making work pay. But with these ill-conceived proposals, the Prime Minister has gone too far.

Yours,

Anne Marie Carrie, Chief Executive, Barnardo's
Seyi Obakin, Chief Executive, Centrepoint
Matthew Reed, Chief Executive, The Children's Society
Leslie Morphy OBE, Chief Executive, Crisis
Jane Slowey, Chief Executive, The Foyer Federation
Fiona Weir, Chief Executive, Gingerbread
Matt Harrison, Interim Chief Executive, Homeless Link
Campbell Robb, Chief Executive, Shelter
Jean Templeton, Chief Executive, St Basils
Ian Green, Chief Executive, YMCA England

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