The proposal that hit the headlines was Cameron's confirmation that the government is considering removing housing benefit entitlement from most people under 25 - an idea first floated back in April. The Mail says there will be exemptions for "special cases, such as domestic violence."
‘We are spending nearly £2 billion on housing benefit for under-25s – a fortune. We need a bigger debate about welfare and what we expect of people. The system currently sends the signal you are better off not working, or working less.’Other ideas under consideration include setting time-limits on other benefits and restrict payments to families with more than three children.
The latest national statistics on Housing Benefit produced by the Department for Work and Pensions show [Table 9a] that over 385,000 HB recipients were under 25 in March 2012. Almost 172,000 of these were single parents, and a further 32,500 were couple with a dependent child.
The plans have been widely condemned by the housing sector - Campbell Robb, Shelter's Chief Executive, said:
'At Shelter we know that many young people simply don’t have family and friends to fall back on if they lose their job, and rely on housing benefit to keep a roof over their head.The Guardian noted that the shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne was wary of saying whether he agreed or disagreed with Cameron's proposals when he was interviewed on the Today programme this morning. He said it was unfair to expect Labour to have a position because the plans were "pretty hazy and half baked".
'At a time when many young people are facing significant difficulties in finding work, these proposals would leave thousands with nowhere else to go. They would also present serious problems for vulnerable young people, for example care leavers and those who have experienced family breakdown.
'Currently over half of young people who rely on housing benefit to pay a private landlord will be on benefits for less than six months while they are unemployed and look for work.
'And since previous changes to housing benefit will force people with spare rooms to downsize and penalise those with adult children living at home, these policies appear completely contradictory.'