I wrote the other day that I wanted to see our party in general and Nick Clegg in particular come out and roundly condemn David Cameron’s ridiculous plan to stop under 25s from claiming Housing Benefit. Centre Forum director Tim Leunig did just that in an article for the Guardian on Monday.
His calm and forensic evisceration of Cameron’s argument put me in mind of the way Nick Clegg took apart the Tory Marriage Tax Break plan ahead of the 2010 election. This, of course, has been kicked into the long grass because of the Liberal Democrats. I’m also reminded of the clear way Nick explained the unfairness in our tax system by using the example of a banker earning squillions paying a lower marginal rate of tax than his cleaner on the minimum wage.
Cameron needs to explain what will happen to people whose parents refuse to house them. If a parent refuses to house a 15-year-old child, the child is taken into care. They may be placed in a children’s home, fostered or put up for adoption. Is Cameron proposing that the state tries to arrange foster care for 23-year-olds? Place them in children’s homes? The mind boggles at the thought of social services interviewing people about their application to adopt a 24-year-old. The cost to the state would be immense.
Cameron also needs to tell us what happens to married people aged under 25. Is he proposing a legal obligation on parents to house their sons-in-law and daughters-in-law as well as their own children? Or is he proposing that any young married couple should be forced to split up if they can’t afford the rent, and return to their own parents? It is hard to imagine that the Tory party really wants to destroy marriages in this way. What happens if the young couple have children? Do parents now have an obligation to house not only their children and their children-in-law, but their grandchildren as well?
You can read the article in full here.
* Caron Lindsay is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings