Betraying vulnerable young people

The more I listen to the unpleasant guff that comes out of David Cameron’s mouth, the more I’m convinced that he just doesn’t get what it’s like to be poor. He and his old Etonian chums have never had to live on the breadline, and I suspect don’t know many people who have. It’s simply another world to them.

If my assumption is correct, it might go some way to explaining his latest brainspew which is a proposal to scrap housing benefit for the under 25s, on the grounds that they can just move back in with their parents if they fall on hard times.

Well, yes, that’s what people are able to do, yes? Just clear out one of the spare rooms. Maybe ask one of the servants to move out? Or perhaps let young Tarquin borow the summer retreat for a while. It’s what all the everyday folk have the capacity for, eh what?

Sarcasm aside, what on earth does Cameron think these young people will do if their parents, for whatever reason, can’t or won’t support them? Apparently the proposal will have exemptions for special cases, such as people fleeing domestic violence. No doubt people claiming such exemptions will be treated every bit as fairly as those trying to claim disability benefits.

Go to a homeless hostel? Most of them charge rent, which they expect residents to pay by claiming housing benefit. Where else are they likely to go? A cardboard box in an alleyway seems the most likely answer.

There’s been a fairly sensible response from Liam Byrne, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, who points out some of the pitfalls.

This is a hazy and half-baked plan when we need a serious back to work programme for young families.

“Many young families with their first foot on the career ladder will be knocked off if help with their rent is taken away. And young families that want to work won’t be able to move where the jobs are.

“The way to get the spiralling benefits bill down is start getting young people and young families back to work.

Cameron has said that he won’t try to implement this until after the next election, presumably because the Lib Dems would be likely to hit the roof if he tried it now. Or possibly this could be a bit of mouthwash to play to his base of pig-ignorant right-wing bigots, rather than a serious policy suggestion.

Either way, if he’s saying this won’t be done until he wins the general election, you know what to do, eh?