Regulations have been laid before Parliament to implement a
Conservative Party Manifesto commitment and the announcement made
as part of the Summer Budget 2015 when George Osborne, then
Chancellor, announced the removal of entitlement to the housing
element of Universal Credit from young people aged 18-21, with
some exceptions, from April 2017.
The Universal Credit (Housing Costs Element for
claimants aged 18 to 21) (Amendment) Regulations 2017
(2017/252) were laid before Parliament on 3 March 2017 and are due
to come into force on 1 April 2017.
The stated rationale is to "ensure young people in the benefits
system face the same choices as young people who work and who may
not be able to afford to leave home."
A related Budget announcement (summer 2015) set out plans to
introduce a Youth Obligation for 18 to 21 year olds on Universal
Credit from April 2017. Young people will be expected to
participate in an "intensive regime of support from day one of
their benefit claim, and after six months they will be expected to
apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship, gain work-based skills,
or go on a mandatory work placement."
The measure was initially forecast to save £40m by 2020/21. In
response to a PQ answered on 24 January 2017, the Minister
said around 10,000 people would be affected saving an estimated £95
million over the course of the current Parliament. On 7 March 2017
Caroline Nokes said that "in the region of
£105 million" would be saved over the period of this
The Regulations specify the categories of young people who will
be exempt from the removal of the housing costs element of
Universal Credit. These exemptions include: those who may not
be able to return home to live with their parents; certain
claimants who have been in work for six months prior to making a
claim; and young people who are parents. Section 2 of the full
report provides information on all the exemptions that will
The House of Commons Library has produced a useful briefing paper providing
information on the decision to restrict entitlement to the housing
cost element of Universal Credit for young people aged 18-21 which
ARCH members mat find useful. The paper sets out the exemptions
that will apply and includes comment on the potential impact of the
An Early Day Motion 1014, praying against the
Regulations, had (at 15 March 2017) attracted 81 signatures.