Under-25 housing benefit

December 27, 2012, 6:00 AM GMT+0

Public generally oppose scrapping under 25s housing benefit

A new poll shows that over half (57%) of people surveyed who had an opinion are opposed to proposals by ministers to end housing benefit for most under 25-year-olds.

The YouGov survey commissioned by single homelessness charity Crisis also showed that nearly three quarters (74%) of those who have an opinion agree with the principle that “people under 25 are adults who should have the same rights and responsibilities as other adults, including accessing benefits if they hit hard times.”

The survey found that, even amongst those who said they backed the cuts, one in three (30%) would not support the policy if it led to an increase in homelessness. Of those that expressed an opinion two-thirds (66%) agree that it is “unreasonable” to expect most people aged under 25 who are claiming housing benefit to move back home with their parents.

No Going Home campaign

These polling findings provide further evidence for the Crisis No Going Home campaign to protect housing benefit for young adults.

Since the campaign launched last month, Crisis campaigners have written to their MPs opposing the new proposal, including hundreds who have written about their personal experience of how as young people housing benefit helped them at a difficult time.

Many say that they would have been on the streets without support but, because of the stability that housing benefit gave them, have gone on to successful careers and further study.

Scrapping under-25 housing benefit ‘unworkable’

According to figures from the Department for Work and Pensions, currently 380,000 people under 25 claim housing benefit across the UK. Many of these people work, others are looking for work, sick or disabled. More than half are parents bringing up children.

The prime minister said that instead of claiming housing benefit, under-25s should move back in with their parents but Crisis has warned that for many this would be impossible. Last year ten thousand people were accepted as homeless because their parents would not or could not house them and more than a third of homeless people were aged 16-24.

Crisis chief executive Leslie Morphy said: “The polling results and our campaigners’ personal experiences show that the majority of the public doesn’t support this unworkable and arbitrary plan to deny housing benefit to under- 25 year olds.”

“Young people claim housing benefit because they have to and without it many would be homeless.”

“We agree with the public that it is unreasonable to expect most to move back home. Some are escaping abuse and for others there simply isn’t room.”

Key statistics

  • 380,000 people age under 25 claim housing benefit
  • 204,000 (53%) have dependent children
  • At least 17% (66,000) of 18-24 year olds claiming housing benefit are also working
  • 28,000 (7%) are sick or disabled and claiming ESA
  • Around a quarter are jobseekers (99,000)
  • 45% of 18-24 year olds on JSA find a job within three months and 64% within 6 months

See the full results here