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Why under 25s need housing benefit

Perhaps the most depressing aspect of David Cameron’s ‘no housing benefit for under 25s’ outburst this morning is the underlying assumption that everyone in that age group has a warm and loving middle class family home, in which they could live happily if only they had not decided to strike out on their own.

Let me tell you about my own life experience on this one. By the time I was in my early twenties, my mother was widowed and bedridden with multiple sclerosis. Thankfully, a charity was able to offer her a single person warden-controlled flat for the disabled.

Shaftesbury Housing Association would kindly turn a blind eye if I visited mum for the weekend and spent the night on the sofa, which was strictly speaking against the regulations. But it would have been impossible for me or my brother to make the place our residence. That’s why we needed – and why we got – HB.

You can multiply that example many times over. What about young people subjected to violence or sexual abuse by their parents? Or kids leaving care? Or those who have got on their bikes and moved to another town to find a job? Or the ones that get kicked out because they are LGBT or refuse to enter a forced marriage? Or those who have had children, maybe even taken out a mortgage, and then get made redundant through no fault of their own?

Not everyone is an Old Etonian whose mummy and daddy can simply buy them a decent flat as an eighteenth birthday present, Dave. Then again, for those from Cameron’s class, probably the biggest problem is deciding which family property they decide to grace with their presence. The man Nadine Dorries famously branded an arrogant posh boy has once again proved that he just doesn’t get it.

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