The Archbishop of Canterbury launched a stinging attack on David Cameron’s “big society” in his new book, saying it comes across as “aspirational waffle”. Rowan Williams says the prime minister’s flagship policy, one that was promoted with the stated aim of empowering communities and local people, masks “a deeply damaging withdrawal of the state from its responsibilities to the most vulnerable”.
Now the coalition government intends to cut Housing Benefit for those under 25 years old. The impact of this measure could be nothing short of disastrous. There seems to be a belief from those putting this idea forward that the targets for this measure, those aged between 18 and 25 years, can simply stay at home with mum and dad. That may well be possible in some cases, but what of those where it isn’t possible, where the Housing Benefit claimant has several younger siblings and there is no room? What of those who have no parents? Or those whose parents have divorced and don’t have the living space to accommodate their adult child? What about young people suffering from mental health issues? What about offenders released from prison who find they cannot return home; that they are unwanted? What about those who get pregnant and are kicked out by their families? What about gay youths who have to leave their family home because their parents don’t agree with their sexuality? To be honest I could go on, but I won’t as you get the idea.
The impact of this measure will almost certainly: 1. Cause a huge rise in crime such as burglary, robbery and fraud. 2. Send 18 – 25 sex worker levels through the roof. 3. Cause considerable civil unrest and swell activism. 4. Will see youth homelessness rise to unprecedented levels.
Only the Bullingdon Club clan could come up with such a nasty idea. Having spent their ‘Hooray Henry’ years throwing food around various dining halls whilst their multi-millionaire parents doled out their ‘allowances’, these miserable, multi-millionaire ministers now seek to place tens if not hundreds of thousands of youths at risk by not allowing them to have their own roof over their head. Is the Housing Benefit crisis caused by claimants or by profiteering private landlords who charge double the average social housing rent?
In the term of the Thatcher/Major governments, social housing stock dropped from 5.3 million units to 3.7 million (30% decrease) currently. In the same period the UK population has risen from 56.1m to 62.3m (11% increase). People like Cameron and Osborne are highly unlikely to understand the pressures of housing where ordinary people are concerned. Still why trouble yourself with the facts when you have a nice plush house to live in?