Plan for housing benefit cuts to slash welfare bill

GEORGE Osborne yesterday confirmed his desire to restrict housing benefit for people aged under 25 as part of an attempt to slash the welfare budget by a further £10bn.

Osborne told the Conservative party conference that reform is necessary: “How can we justify giving flats to young people who have never worked, when working people their age are still living with their parents because they can’t afford their first home?”
To muted applause he also confirmed that the rich would have to contribute more to paying down the deficit. Later an aide said that the Treasury was considering new taxes on the well-off, not just a renewed crackdown on tax evasion.

There was little detail on what other benefits might be cut although the Institute for Fiscal Studies, a think tank, suggested that possibilities include a freeze on all working-age benefits and tax credits, as well as cuts in the entitlements for large out-of-work families.

Meanwhile transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin used his address to delegates to announce a £170m to clear 57 bottlenecks on roads by the end of 2014, including some on the M1 and approach roads to Stansted airport.