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Cuts to housing benefit shameful

Published: 09 July 2015

Cuts to housing benefit shameful

Commenting on today's budget in which the Chancellor announced that automatic entitlement to housing benefit was being cut from 18-21 year olds, Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said:

"This is a youth tax and a shameful decision which is unjustified and cruel. It completely removes the safety net that is in place to protect young people whose circumstances often prevent them from staying in or returning to the family home.

"Whether it's someone fleeing an abusive relationship or thrown out of their home, or someone caught between jobs a long way from home, we have a duty to support young people.

"Cutting this vital lifeline for many thousands of young people is simply wrong and I fear that, despite Shelter Scotland and other support service's best efforts this will cause very hard times and lead to a rise in homelessness among young people."

Graeme Brown added:

"Short-sighted cuts like this do nothing to fix the root cause of the housing benefit bill – which has grown due to the chronic shortage of affordable homes, a growing reliance on the private rented sector and sky-high rents. That's why the reduction in the benefit cap doesn't make sense as it will drive those affected by it out of their homes for not being able to pay their rent, in effect, clearing out people who rely on housing benefit from high rent areas.

"In Scotland, we need to build at least 10,000 new homes for social rent each year for the foreseeable future to tackle the shortage of affordable housing. By investing in affordable housing, not only would this bring hope to the 150,500 households on council waiting lists, it would also gradually reduce the housing benefit bill, which in turn would leave more funds available for investment in housing."

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