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It’s no secret that the Tories have cut housing benefit, and despite their reasoning, there are certain parts of the UK that have been the hardest hit, causing devastation and homelessness amongst many young families. Recently, new research has emerged that reveals the 10 worst areas of the UK that are the worst hit by the huge decision to strip 18-21 year old job seekers of any housing benefit. The cutting plans recently came into play after being in the conservative’s 2015 manifesto and it means that out of work teenagers will no longer be entitled to housing benefit. The new legislation means that job seekers under 21 are no longer entitled to the housing element of Universal Credit. Although Universal Credit replaced all benefits back in 2016 and saw separate payments rolled into one, there are still certain elements that you have to be entitled to. If you are not entitled to a particular element, your payment for this will be scrapped, thus reducing your overall monthly allowance.
Despite being warned by charities that this policy could force yet more young people onto the streets due to landlords reluctant to take them in, the Tories went ahead, and it has now been revealed the areas that have been the worse affected, despite the policy only being put into practice at the beginning of April. During the initial talks, the Tory Government said the new policy would affect around 10, 000 young people, but on further inspection, it was revealed by the House of Commons Library that around 18, 000 would actually be affected, a significantly higher number than that quoted by the Conservatives. The research also looked into the worst affected areas, concluding that in London, around 2,820 young people would be affected, 700 in Manchester and 800 in Birmingham – these cities are already significantly affected by youth homelessness.
The divides become even more apparent when the research is broken down to constituency level. For example, in Birmingham’s Ladywood constituency alone, around 230 people are said to be affected. The block has also affected many in Croydon and Nottingham constituencies. The stark difference can also be noticed in constituencies further down South, with Theresa May’s Maidenhead constituency seeing just ten people affected, perhaps making it slightly easier to turn a blind eye. To be fair to Theresa May and team, there has been a list of exemptions published by the DWP which includes orphans, those leaving care, victims of domestic violence, those that are disabled and those living in temporary accommodation. To make matters worse, research has also suggested that the new policy will only save around £3 million due to the knock-on effect on those involved. When read into, this means that even if there were only 140 people made homeless, it would cost the taxpayer more and not less. Seeing as a lot more are being affected than just 140, it seems that the policy is, in fact, doing a lot more damage than good. The policy has been described by Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron as ‘nasty’ and ‘counterproductive’ with younger generations having the most to lose.