Under-25s blast 'stupid' benefits cuts proposal
THE Government's latest idea to crack down on the country's spiralling benefits bill has been met with undisguised hostility.
In a major policy speech the Prime Minister has suggested stripping housing benefit from the under-25s and forcing them to live with their parents.
David Cameron also wants to slash benefits for feckless families.
The ideas could be part of a Conservative Party manifesto for the next General Election, in 2015.
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But the idea, which Mr Cameron stressed was not a firm policy, was slammed by Plymothians.
Dan Long, aged 17, from Plympton, a trainee teaching assistant, said: "It's a stupid idea. Whatever David Cameron does is stupid. It's fair to say you should work before you get benefits, but there are not the jobs anywhere. I have tried looking for work and they don't even take your CV."
Jess Wafer, 18, from Efford, a trainee teaching assistant, said: "I don't listen to anything Cameron says any more.
"It's a pathetic idea that you have to live with your parents. We should be allowed to have freedom and independence.
"I live at home but I'm keen to move out."
Rhys French, aged 18, from Mannamead, said that not everyone had the choice to live with their parents.
Rhys, a level three engineering student at City College Plymouth, said he knew several young people who lived by themselves and got housing benefit.
"Some of them moved out because they did not get on with their parents.
"One person's parents died and the rest of his family lives abroad. He doesn't have a choice – it's either that or live on the street."
"There are people in college who live by themselves and get housing benefit. They are looking for jobs. If you are looking for work you should get benefits."
Lauren Newsom, aged 18, from Mannamead and studying art and design at Plymouth College of Art, said: "If you live with your parents you don't get the experience.
"This won't encourage me to vote for David Cameron."
Luke McCarthy , aged 16, from Ford, has just finished GCSEs and is about the start a construction course.
"If someone is struggling for money and can't get a job, it would be bad to have to live with your parents because you couldn't have your friends or a girlfriend round to visit," he said.
Mr Cameron also said he wanted to adjust the benefits system so it does not encourage people to have large numbers of children.
He said: "If you are a single parent living outside London, if you have four children and you're renting a house on housing benefit, then you can claim almost £25,000 a year.
"That is more than the average take-home pay of a farm worker and nursery nurse put together."
Downing Street also confirmed proposals are being considered to regionalise social security payouts and bring them into line with local wage rates.
The Government is already looking at whether public sector workers such as teachers and nurses should be paid different amounts depending on where they live.
But this idea, which is set to see payments reduced, received a cool reception from one of Mr Cameron's own MPs.
Tory MP for South West Devon Gary Streeter said: "I certainly favour a radical overhaul of our benefits system but looking at regional benefits and pay is not my favourite part of the plans, but we are at such a stage of welfare dependence that we have got to explore everything."
Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton Oliver Colvile welcomed the Prime Minister's ideas, but Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View, said: "What [Mr Cameron] needs to be doing is focusing on getting people, particularly young people, into work."
The latest statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions show that spending on benefits, not including pensions, totalled nearly £355 million in Plymouth alone last year, which is up from £342 million in 2009/10.
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