Changes in housing benefit won’t benefit the young

Changes in housing benefit won’t benefit the young

A group of 40 Conservative MPs has recently proposed that all benefits to 16-17 year-old mothers should be made conditional on these young women living either with their parents or in supervised hostel accommodation. This, they argue, will leave young people ‘in no doubt that teenage motherhood will not lead to an automatic right to subsidised housing and other benefits’. This is a particularly hideous policy proposal, especially because is motivated in part by a negative stereotype of young women that turns out to have very little basis in reality. The MPs write that the aim of the policy would be to curb the resentment caused by ‘the general view that many teenagers are having children to attain benefits and subsidised housing’. But a survey for the Royal Statistical Society found that people vastly overestimate the number of teenage pregnancies, with the average person believing that 15% of under-16s get pregnant every year. The actual figure is 0.6%. The pregnancy rate for under-18s is now at its lowest rate since records began in 1969. So even if young women are attempting to improve their housing and financial situation by having children, which I for one think is not very likely, it is certainly not true that ‘many’ teenagers are following this path. In other words, the policy aims to win votes for the Conservatives through propagating stereotypes, rather than being a necessary measure to solve a large-scale social problem. For politicians to pander to the public misperception of rates of teenage pregnancy is extremely lazy and unfair. This policy is one of a number of changes that have been...

Two minutes with Isabel Chapman, our “Young Journalist Award” Winner

Isabel Chapman, one of our fantastic writers for the 99% Campaign was awarded the “Young Journalist Award” at IARS second annual Research and Leadership Awards on 7th August. The award was given to Isabel for her fantastic article on “Young Women and Violence“ which discussed the international evidence for continuing sexual exploitation and violence against women. The article received a whopping 50 Facebook shares, along with 11 tweets, and a stamp of approval from 6 bloggers! We caught up with Isabel to find out how she got involved in the campaign and what she is doing now – with a bonus question on what she would like to change about her community in London. Check out her answers below… How did you become involved in the 99% Campaign Blog? In June 2011 I joined the IARS Transport For London research programme as I had just moved to London. Despite my parent’s best efforts to convince me otherwise, I moved into a flat just off Brixton high street. Luckily, this gave me prime position when the riots occurred at the start of August and when IARS asked me to write my first article about my experience, I eventually agreed. I have been writing for campaign ever since.  What you gained from writing for the campaign? I moved to London with no job, little experience and no clear plan of action, so joining IARS showed me that there were other likeminded, driven and politically interested young people, who were also passionate about voicing their opinions. I have learnt so much from IARS and the 99% campaign; it has encouraged me to...

Can the memory of the riots be a positive driver of change?

On Wednesday August 7th, IARS held the second annual Research and Leadership Awards at the Ritzy Cinema in central London. These awards were set up to celebrate, remember and reward young people and their initiatives to overcome some of the worst effects of the riots that took place in the UK two years ago. Each of the short-listed candidates for the awards were picked for their unique contributions: helping us to understand the underlying reasons for the riots; and by resolving deep-seated problems as community leaders implementing change from the ground-up. IARS received over 60 brilliant applications and the decision process was far from easy. After a lot of umming ahhing, the awards were presented for the six categories. The winners of these awards were: Damien Lucien, The Peacemaker of the Year Award (sponsored by Khulisa UK); Josiah Duncan, The Young Victim Support Award (sponsored by Victim Support); Isabel Chapman, The 99% Campaign Young Journalist Award (sponsored by Nominet Trust); Zara Todd, The Youth Research Project Award (sponsored by University of Reading) Andre Campbell, The Community Leader Award (sponsored by Raise Your Game) and Line Algoed, The Innovative Cross-Sector Partnership (sponsored by NCVYS). The awards ceremony hosted a grand selection of community organisations working with a patchwork of different groups and offered young people a platform to showcase their valuable contributions to their communities. With all the serious business over, the event concluded on a lighter note; attendees were subjected to a mind-boggling quiz packed with questions on the “The Riots”, “Peaceful Movements”, and “Inspiring People”. ****** But what now I hear you ask, what are to become of...

99% Campaigns Magazine

The 99% Campaign Magazine 2013 Check out our new 99% Campaigns Magazine, designed by our team of young writers, illustrators and graphic designers. Inside you will find a selection of articles, all hand picked for your enjoyment! Download YOU FREE copy below!  [scribd id=158963350 key=key-g4bk9nwqmenlxafmbdh...