An article today appears in Inside Housing stating that DWP are in fact considering banning HB to those under 25 but only for new cases.
“A spokesperson said: ‘We’re looking at a range of options for future reforms to the welfare system – changing the eligibility criteria for housing benefit is one of these. ‘Any changes would affect future claimants only and we would still ensure that vulnerable people remain protected.’
Joe Halewood, a housing benefit consultant, said restricting the measure to future claimants would only save a small amount of money, around £90 million a year after 10 years.”
I have no idea where this £90m per year comes from though I spoke with the journalist over this issue which I said was a non-runner and maintained my view that this won’t happen and reiterated my long maintained view that its a smokescreen for the introuduction of SAR to social housing.
Some facts from the official HB data
- Since the election in May 2010 the HB claimant count has increased by 11,208 claimants per month.
- 7.62% of HB claimants are under 25
- Therefore 855 under 25 HB claimants would be new each month / 10260 per year and DWP would ‘save’ by not paying them in this idea
- Average HB payment to under-25’s is £93.94 pw.
Hence restricting HB to all new under 25s (including those working those with children, those entering single hostels or DV refuges) would save just £50.29m per year and a far cry from the nearly £2bn Cameron said this would save back in June in yet another attempt to blame young people as welfare scroungers and conveniently forgetting that pensioners receive £2 of every £3 in welfare benefits.
The DWP are in polite terms talking through their hat. As I have always maintained the ban on HB for under-25s is a non-starter and it is kite flying and a smokescreen for the introduction of SAR to social housing. This by comparison would save about £40pw on the 894,200 under 35s who claim HB and even if just restricted to all under 35s with no child dependents these reduced 433,630 claimants getting £40pw less sees the government saves £905m per year. Take away the care leavers, hostel residents and refuge residents and the saving is still at least £500m per year!
This is a no brainer!
My view is SAR will be applied to social housing as this completes the levelling of the playing field of HB eligibility in the SRS to LHA in the PRS that the bedroom tax does in all cases excepting SAR! This will cause mayhem and have horrific consequences as I said when I first mentioned this yet it is only levelling the playing field for HB eligibility with the private sector in political terms – an easy sell.
By the way I’m a supported housing consultant not a HB consultant who just happens to be able to read official data and work a calculator! I have no idea where the £90m pa comes from in the article