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Wednesday, March 08, 2017

The evidence-free change that will hit young people hard

If it was not bad enough that the decision of the UK Government's to scrap housing benefit for young people is going to put thousands on the streets without support, it turns out that they have made the change without a proper impact assessment. In other words they have acted on instinct, without evidence and without fully understanding or apparently caring about the consequences.

The Independent says that charities have pointed out the plan will save almost no money and could drive up homelessness, as well as disproportionately affect LGBT people or those estranged from their families. But when the Government quietly published secondary legislation to enact the plan on Friday afternoon it provided no evidence that it had done any impact assessment:

On Monday homelessness charity Centrepoint estimated that the policy would make another 9,000 young people homeless. Recent research by Heriot-Watt University found that once exemptions were included the policy would save just £3.3 million pounds. Researchers calculated that just 140 young people would have to be made homeless by the change for knock-on costs to mean the policy actually cost taxpayers more money overall.

Responding for the Government Ms Nokes stressed the claimed limited scope of the policy and said it would tackle “perverse incentive to leave the family home and pass the costs onto a taxpayer”

It is an attempt at social engineering without regard for the consequences to the vulnerable young people who will be hardest hit by the change.
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