The truth behind Cameron’s benefit slashing plans

In an interview yesterday with The Mail on Sunday, David Cameron started debate over future plans to cut housing benefit for under 25 year olds.

The truth behind Cameron's benefit slashing plans

The plans, which Cameron believes will fix the incorrect signals young people in Britain are receiving from the state, will save the Government almost £2 bn per year.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, the PM said he wanted to stop workers resenting the unemployed and he feels this is will fix that problem. On comparing a couple under 25 who are living with parents, saving to get married and then having children with a couple under 25 who have had a child and get a council house, the PM said, “One is trapped in a welfare system that discourages them from working, the other is doing the right thing and getting no help.”

He continued, “It encourages people not to work and have children, but we should help people to work and have children.”

Later in the interview, Cameron also said that he favoured new curbs and cuts on the Jobseeker’s Allowance benefit.

Truth behind the plans

Whilst many papers are running with headlines which strike fear into under 25’s who are on housing benefit right now, the truth is these polices are just debate.

As the Government is a coalition with the LibDems, Cameron’s plans to cash in on under 25’s are unlikely to be put into action until after 2015, that’s if the Conservatives are even still in power.

A Downing Street source said that Mr Cameron was “starting a debate and setting out some ideas. We are realistic that some of them might not be achievable politically because they’re not palatable to our coalition partners.”

Another stark fact you won’t hear David Cameron sharing in an interview is that just one in eight people who receive housing benefit are out of work. The vast majority of those claiming the benefit do so to supplement low wages or to compensate against extortionate rental prices.

Speaking about the budget cut plans, Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Housing and homeless charity Shelter said, “If this support is ripped out suddenly from under their feet it will push many households over the edge, triggering a spiral of debt, eviction and homelessness.”

LibDem views

Writing on Lib Dem Voice, the most-read, independent website written by and for Liberal Democrat members, activists and bloggers, one supporter voiced her opinion.

Caron Lindsay said, “Many Liberal Democrats will have been choking on their Sunday Corn Flakes yesterday as they read, with horror, David Cameron’s plans to slash benefits even further than this year’s Welfare Reform Bill. If he had his way, there would be no Housing Benefit payable to anyone under 25. The critical part of the reports is, however, this sentence: Downing Street said they were Conservative plans for after the next general election. That’s all right then. This rubbish isn’t going to happen on our watch.”

A senior Lib Dem warned that the priority was to get young people into work, training or education to avoid “repeating the mistakes of the 1980s”.

Your views

So although the headlines are daunting, they are likely just a forecast into a future Tory Britain should be choose to vote that way.

What are your views on the possible housing benefit cuts?

Photography: World Economic Forum @Flickr

+Colleen Reid

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