Briefing: Removal of housing benefit for 18-21s

By: Heather Spurr  Published: March 2017


From 1 April 2017, most single 18 to 21-year-olds will no longer be able to claim the housing benefit element of Universal Credit. This briefing explains who will be affected by the measure and why this policy will be damaging for young people.

Summary

On 3rd March 2017, the government laid regulations before parliament to remove the automatic entitlement to housing costs under Universal Credit for single people aged between 18 and 21. 

The government expects to save £105m from this policy over the course of this parliament. It is expected to affect 1,000 young people in the first year, rising to 11,000 eventually. The policy applies only to Universal Credit claimants, and only to those in a Universal Credit Full Service areas. 

Shelter is disappointed that these amendments have been laid and fear that young people will be left with nowhere else to go but sleep rough or sofa surf. Rough sleeping continued to rise last year, with 4,134 counted in a single night across England in Autumn 2016. 

We believe this measure runs counter to the government’s support of the Homelessness Reduction Bill and will mean young people will have nowhere else to turn but to the streets.

This briefing looks at who will be affected by the policy and why it will be damaging for young people.

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