Housing changes damaging to young people


Plaid Cymru fears over housing benefit changes introduced today

Plaid Cymru spokesperson for work and pensions, Hywel Williams MP, has criticised housing benefit changes being introduced today – arguing that they are penalising younger people and potentially forcing benefit claimants into unsuitable housing.

Changes being introduced are expected to lead to younger people being forced to live at home longer and families moving into lower-grade accommodation.

Mr Williams said:

“Poor housing is linked to poor health and lower life chances.

“In changing the rules for families living on housing benefits, they are forcing families to move into housing which is at the lower quality end of the spectrum.

“These are very disturbing moves which Plaid Cymru has opposed. It is clear that these changes are motivated by cost implications, rather than human factors and improving society.

“They are also strongly motivated by problems with the housing market in London, rather than the conditions and costs in Wales.

“Changes to age qualification for single person properties, such as bedsits, for example, will mean that young people, up to the age of 35 – which is hardly young – have to stay with their families or find alternative accommodation.

“There is a very serious fear that this will lead to increased homelessness and desperation for young people who feel trapped by circumstances and unable to afford a place of their own.

“Councils in Wales are already predicting an increase in housing problems as people are forced out of the private property market and this will put pressure on social housing and homelessness supports.

“At the same time, £80m of money from housing in Wales is sent back to London under what is called the Housing Revenue Account subsidy. This is a dreadful misuse of funds which should be helping with housing in Wales.”