08/10/2012 18:44 BST | Updated 09/10/2012 10:13 BST

George Osborne Accused Of Targeting Young People For Housing Benefit Cuts

George Osborne has been accused of targeting the poor and young families after he announced a government plan to cut an extra £10bn from the benefits bill.

The chancellor signalled two policies which could be used to cut down the benefits bill during his keynote speech to the Tory conference on Monday - removing housing benefit for under 25s and cutting benefits for unemployed families who have extra children.

george osborne

'Abhorrent': Osborne has been criticised for signalling he wants to cut housing benefit for the under 25s

Kate, an 18-year-old from Yorkshire with a two month year old child, said she would be homeless without housing benefit.

“If my housing benefit was taken away, my partner and my daughter would end up homeless. Without it we would not be able to afford to live. I have worked and I'm currently on maternity leave," she told The Huffington Post UK.

"My partner also works. We aren't one of those families who sits and expects to be paid benefits. We are only claiming to help tie us over while money is short."

So, does she think the government is targeting young people? "Definitely. They are tarring everyone with the same brush instead of looking at individual needs."

Housing and campaign groups said the plans would target single parents families and could represent a "huge blow" to the young.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation's Helen Barnard said while cutting benefits "for groups who receive little public sympathy may make for a good Conference speech" Osborne risked increasing poverty.

And Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group said Osborne's proposal to cut benefit for unemployed families having more children was "abhorrent."

“We were told it would be those with the broadest shoulders who have the greatest burden, but the richest are getting tax cuts and it is those with the narrowest shoulders, our poorest children, who are being made to pay the price," she said.

According to current estimates 380,000 young people claim housing benefit - 204,450 of whom have children.

Shelter's chief executive Campbell Robb said in singling out the under 25s Osborne was targeting a group "already facing an incredibly tough time."

“Young people are already facing an incredibly tough time, with high unemployment, rising living costs and flat-lining wages for those lucky enough to have a job. Removing such a vital source of support will be a huge blow for young people struggling to set themselves up in life.”

Housing charity Crisis' Leslie Morphy said Osborne was being "irresponsible." “Our fear is that if this cut goes ahead thousands of under-25s, many of them very vulnerable, will be left with very little choice but to try and get by on friends’ floors, squats or even the streets," she said.

“At a time of record youth unemployment and rising youth homelessness, the chancellor’s proposals to cut housing benefit for under-25s are irresponsible."