Westminster’s number of rough sleepers set to rise to 300 due to Conservative cuts to housing benefit for young people

Thursday, 27 April 2017

At least 40 more young people in the Cities of London and Westminster will be affected by the Conservative government’s decision to strip 18-21 year olds of housing benefit, research by the House of Commons library commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has shown.1

In total 18,000 young people across the country expected to be affected, with 2,820 of those in London.

The Liberal Democrats have committed to reverse the cuts, which came into force at the beginning of this month.

Official figures show Westminster already suffers from high levels of homelessness, with official figures showing there were 260 rough sleepers in 2016.2

Charities have warned that stripping 18-21 year-olds of housing benefits could push more young people onto the streets, should landlords refuse to take them on as tenants. Some 60% of homelessness in Westminster owes to evictions by landlords.3

Research by Heriot-Watt University has also shown this harmful policy is likely to cost taxpayers more than it saves, due to the impact of making more people homeless.4

Bridget Fox, Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Cities of London and Westminster commented:

"The heartless decision to strip under-21s of housing benefit risks pushing more people in Westminster onto the streets, who are already suffering due to a lack of affordable housing in the borough.

"The most vulnerable, who have nowhere else to turn, are being abandoned by this Conservative government.

"This election can change the direction of our country and give young people hope again. Liberal Democrats will restore housing benefit for 18-21-year-olds and prevent a destructive hard Brexit that robs young people of their futures."




For follow-up enquiries, please contact Bridget Fox, Luisa Porritt or our local party (by email):

Bridget Fox, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Cities of London and Westminster

Phone: 07966255821

Luisa Porritt, Press and Media Officer, Westminster and City of London Liberal Democrats

Phone: 07884491911, [email protected]

Westminster and City of London Liberal Democrats

Email: [email protected]


1 https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_3rmi0WKPbMmXCloeXtVPVGitpcPXePbPa3i5zN82Io/edit#gid=0

2 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/rough-sleeping-in-england-autumn-2016

3 https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jan/15/homeless-families-coventry-westminster-council-london-cuts

4 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/housing-benefit-young-people-18-21-scrapped-universal-credit-exemptions-a7610581.html


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