Conservative Conference – Housing News

Housing benefit to be withdrawn for unemployed under-25s

Young unemployed people will lose their housing benefit and jobseekers allowance entitlements, David Cameron announced.

The party floated a similar idea in June 2012 but a Liberal Democrat veto stopped it in its tracks. The previous proposal was aimed at reducing public spending and would apply to all under-25s, however the revised proposal that David Cameron announced forms part of a new approach to encourage young people into work, training or further education.

“Today it is still possible to leave school, sign on, find a flat, start claiming housing benefit and opt for a life on benefits,” Cameron said.

Eric Pickles unveils tenants’ charter

Private renters will be able to demand longer tenancies under a new code of conduct for landlords which will provide greater security for tenants, communities secretary Eric Pickles revealed..

An increasing numbers of families are now dependent on the private rented sector, typically trapped in cycles of short-term tenancies with little protection from sudden rent increases and evictions.

Pickles said: “[The] proposals will raise the quality and choice of rental accommodation, root out cowboys and rogue operators in the sector, and give tenants the confidence to request longer fixed-term, family-friendly tenancies that meet their needs.”

However, the move may put landlords in breach of their buy-to-let mortgage terms, which often insist landlords issue tenancies lasting no longer than one year.

Help to Buy scheme brought forward

The second phase of the government’s controversial Help to Buy scheme, which allows people to take out 95% mortgages partly underwritten by public money, will be launched next week – three months earlier than planned.

The prime minister made the announcement on the eve of the Conservative conference and defended the policy against criticisms that it would create a housing bubble.

“I don’t want to be the prime minister who stands aside and says you can only buy a flat or a house if you’ve got rich parents,” Cameron said.

Armed forces offered interest-free home loans

Members of the armed forces will be offered interest-free loans towards a deposit on a home, defence secretary Philip Hammond announced.

Under the scheme, which will start in April 2014 for a period of three years, armed forces personnel will be able to borrow up to 50% of their salary, up to a limit of £25,000, which will be repayable over 10 years.

Armed forces personnel have comparatively low levels of home ownership and the desire to own a home has been one of the main reasons people leave the forces, according to the Ministry of Defence.

Source: The Guardian

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