Uncertain Futures - Young People's Views on Proposed Housing Benefit Cuts

The purpose of this research by YMCA England was to better understand the potential impact of withdrawing automatic Housing Benefit entitlement could have on young people.

The government recently set out its plans to introduce measures to tackle youth unemployment and dependency on the social security system, including proposals to remove automatic Housing Benefit entitlement for 18 to 21-year-olds who are out of work and claiming Universal Credit.

‘Uncertain Futures’ is a new report that seeks to challenge some of the assumptions underpinning the argument that many young people are choosing a life on benefits and draw out the types of young people who may be adversely affected by these reforms when they are introduced in April 2017.

By removing automatic entitlement to Housing Benefit for 18 to 21-year-olds, the Government could be in danger of inadvertently taking away support from the young people who need it the most, and in doing so, exposing many more vulnerable people to the risk of becoming homeless and therefore damaging their prospects of finding work in the future.

YMCA agrees that action is needed to address youth unemployment but, without protections, thousands of vulnerable, young people will face uncertain futures, not knowing if they will have anywhere they can call home and leaving them less able to find work.

In changing entitlement to Housing Benefit for 18 to 21-year-olds, YMCA believes that detailed measures should be put in place to ensure the most vulnerable young people in the country continue to receive protection and support during their time of need.

As such, as a minimum, protection should be put in place for young people who are:

  • Pregnant or have dependent children
  • Care leavers or former children in need
  • Homeless or have a history of homelessness
  • Estranged from their parents.

If you want to find out more about this report or if you have a query, please contact our Policy Team on policy@england.ymca.org.uk. Please watch our video below to gain an insight as to what young people feel about the proposed cuts to housing benefit.

Download our Uncertain Futures Research

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