More Wigan teens on the street as benefit U-turn stalls

More teens could be forced onto the streets of Wigan
More teens could be forced onto the streets of Wigan

The organisation responsible for providing care services for 16 to 25 year-olds in Greater Manchester’s boroughs is warning that more teens face ending up on the streets in Wigan after government delays over a benefit shake-up.

Ministers vowed in March to restore housing benefit for people aged 18 to 21 - reversing a policy they announced a year earlier. But the U-turn has still not taken effect - and will not do so until at least September.

Paul Barlow

Paul Barlow

Youngsters now face six months in the lurch after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) failed to push through legal changes before MPs’ summer holiday.

Independent Together provides support and accommodation services to 16-plus-year-olds, while helping them acquire the necessary skills to move onto independent living says the delay. The company was this year appointed to provide leaving care services for local authorities throughout the North West.

Director Paul Barlow says the government’s delays will increase the number of young people in the region at risk of homelessness in Wigan.

“This delay is unnecessary and could put lives at risk. When will the Government realise that people are dying on our streets?

“Mayor Andy Burnham is doing all he can to tackle homelessness by calling on every one of Greater Manchester’s boroughs to provide a bed for every rough sleeper during autumn and winter this year.

“But at the same time, unnecessary legislative delays are making the problem worse. It’s one step forward and two steps back.”