A further cut in housing benefit for people aged under-25 would have a disastrous effect on strictly Orthodox Jews, a senior community figure warned this week.
Chancellor George Osborne, interviewed on Radio 4’s Today programme this week, suggested that the measure could be taken as part of further welfare reforms.
But Michoel Posen, director of the Stamford Hill-based Agudas Israel Community Services, said it would be “catastrophic” if the cuts were to apply to the many young Charedi married couples living in the area.
“They are just starting out in life. What does the government want them to do — live with their parents for five years?” he said. “I’m not saying cuts shouldn’t be made, but this is not the place to make them.”
The previous Labour government capped housing benefit for single people under the age of 25, a policy which was extended to under-35s by the current coalition.
The government has also set limits on housing benefit for families generally as part of its drive to reduce the welfare budget.
Simche Steinberger, a Charedi Conservative councillor in Hackney, where Stamford Hill is located, also opposed targeting housing benefit for young couples. “I don’t think it’s a clever idea at all,” he said.