Axing of Housing Benefit for 18-21 year-olds

LGBT Labour condemns the Tory government for their decision to axe Housing Benefit for 18-21 year-olds - a decision the government attempted to sneak out on Friday afternoon, when Parliament was not in session.

The change, which comes into effect on 1 April, will only affect new claimants, and there will be some exceptions such as care leavers and those with dependent children. However, many will be left without a safety net.

LGBT+ youth are especially vulnerable. A 2015 study by the charity The Albert Kennedy Trust showed that as many as a quarter of homeless young people may be LGBT+.

LGBT Labour Co-Chair Sarah Kerton said: "We know that young LGBT+ people are disproportionately at risk of homelessness, and that removing Housing Benefit would effectively force many of them to go back to the family home. And for many LGBT+ youth even today, that's the last place they want to be, as it is a place where they are unsafe due to fears of violence and abuse because of their LGBT+ identity.

"It is therefore utterly shameful that the government should try and sneak this massive change under the radar, without a Commons vote. We would urge the Department of Work and Pensions to reconsider this decision."

Labour's Shadow Housing Minister John Healey has also condemned the move. He said: “This disgraceful cut to housing support will leave thousands of young people with nowhere to go. Many could end up on the streets." Healey pointed out that the "shameful doubling of rough sleeping since 2010 is a direct result of decisions [the government has] made. With this decision they will make the scandal of rising homelessness worse still."