Benefit cuts hit vulnerable young people - statement by Centrepoint Parliament

The Centrepoint Parliament believes that the Conservative’s new proposals on cutting benefits would be detrimental to the future of young people, particularly those facing issues at home who have no choice but to leave. It may force vulnerable young people to remain in situations that are unsafe simply because they cannot claim housing benefit.

David Cameron said that he wants to end the idea that by age 18 you ‘leave school, leave home, claim unemployment benefit and claim housing benefit.’ We strongly feel that for young people living at Centrepoint, as well as other homeless young people, there was never a choice. They are often forced to leave home due to circumstances out of their control.

Although the Centrepoint Parliament is in favour of more wide-ranging apprenticeships and traineeships, we do not agree with having 18-21 year olds do community-service type work. Such a scheme is not conducive to opening up genuine long term employment prospects and developing meaningful skills. As one of our members mentioned, “We have aspirations which these proposals could threaten to take away.”

We welcome the prospect of having more volunteering and working opportunities, provided such a scheme is implemented in a fair manner. We feel that all the opportunities provided by the Jobcentre should be tailored to individual needs, with a prospect of real employment at the end.

We urge David Cameron to reconsider whether cutting housing benefit and enforcing community work is the best way to harness the many talents of the future generation.