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Government rethink on Housing Benefit for 18-21 year olds 03/04/2018

The government reversed its previously announced policy to scrap housing benefit for 18 to 21-year-olds under Universal Credit.


In a written statement to Parliament issued on 29 March, Work & Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, announced the government would "amend regulations so that all 18 to 21-year-olds will be entitled to claim support for housing costs in Universal Credit".


In her statement she said:


"This Government is committed to providing young people with the support they need to get started with their working lives. We do this through providing financial support when it is needed, and support to either 'earn or learn' - delivered through the simplified Universal Credit (UC) benefits system. In line with this aim, I am today announcing that the Government will amend regulations so that all 18-21 year olds will be entitled to claim support for housing costs in UC.


Currently, 18-21 year olds who make a new claim to UC in UC Full Service areas need to meet certain requirements in order to receive housing support. The change I am announcing today means that young people on benefits will be assured that if they secure a tenancy, they will have support towards their housing costs in the normal way.


Young people in return will have a Youth Obligation - an intensive package of labour market support for 18-21 year-olds looking to get into work. We are committed to providing targeted support for young people so that everyone, no matter what their start in life, is given the very best chance of getting into work.


This decision ensures that there are no unintended barriers to young people accessing housing on the basis of their age alone and getting into work, and is in line with the Government's launch of the Homelessness Reduction Act and our commitment to eradicating rough sleeping by 2027."


ARCH welcomes the Minister's decision

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