The Prime Minister's desire to remove housing benefit for under 25s is ill-considered and could do great social damage.
I recently led a Commons debate on the issue and was bombarded with detailed briefings from reputable organisations helping young people.
Nearly 400,000 households headed by an under-25 year old claim housing benefit. Over half have dependent children. Over half claim benefit for less than six months. A fifth are in work.
Some can move back home and save for a mortgage. But others cannot return as they have a job elsewhere, are fleeing domestic violence, or there is no room in the family home. Others simply do not have a family.
The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies asks how government would distinguish between those who can and cannot reasonably be expected to live with their parents.
In North Tyneside, Maritime Court offers support and accommodation with 24/7 staffing. Sue, not her real name, is a success story.
Sue started with the project at 17 with numerous needs. Her background was chaotic thanks to her mother's moving around with debt and rent arrears. She fended for herself and her young sister from an early age and suffered domestic abuse. Her parents then separated and she had an awkward relationship with her mother.
She had been re-homed after being forced out of her parents’ house. She had some skills but also had mental health and communication problems and needed support with money management, relationships and tackling offending behaviour. Sue has now matured, can cope and has found work and hope thanks to Maritime Court and housing benefit.
Removing housing benefit for those under 25 won’t raise or save money overall. David Cameron's dream would be a nightmare for people like Sue and I will continue to strongly oppose it.