Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/842/20040
"These cuts will sink us further into poverty"
Hands off our housing benefit!
A young renter
The government's plan to abolish housing benefit for under-21s has demonstrated, once again, how sorely out of touch they are with reality. For those of us who have fled from home due to abuse, overcrowding or because they are not welcome, among many other reasons, these cuts will sink us further into poverty.
Cameron defends this proposal, saying that it will fund 300 apprenticeship places but those targeted by these measures are in no position to benefit from this. Just 2% of young people supported by youth homelessness charity Centrepoint have access to apprenticeship schemes.
Far from living a life of luxury with parents who will always have a room for them, figures show that young people are hit harder than ever by the housing crisis. 8% of under-25s report that they have been homeless during the last five years and the number of under-25s sleeping on the street has more than doubled over the last three years.
From personal experience, I know that the family home is not always the welcoming place the Tories would have us believe. I left home when I was 19 to escape a controlling and emotionally abusive family. Trying to have a social life and become independent was emotionally draining so in the end, I had to leave.
I am now 21 and I receive no support of any kind from my family. I will soon graduate from university and start looking for work. If I do not walk into a job, housing benefit will be vital.
It is from people like me that the government wants to steal a lifeline which would tide us over during those in-between periods and times of financial hardship. I have friends who have suffered horrific abuse and neglect and who have had the courage to leave home. They have done so only to find that the government wants to condemn them to doing several poorly paid jobs on zero-hour contracts to make ends meet.
The government tries to give the impression of prioritising jobs over homes when in fact they are looking for another way to attack the vulnerable and bully them into non-existent jobs.
There is enough money in the pockets of big business and the super-rich to fund the apprenticeship scheme and to ensure that a generation of young people does not have to endure homelessness and poverty. Why doesn't the government start looking there?
In The Socialist 4 February 2015:
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