Section 1 — Amendment of section 25 of the 1987 Act

Part of Homelessness etc (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:32 pm on 5th March 2003.

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Photo of Linda Fabiani Linda Fabiani Scottish National Party 2:32 pm, 5th March 2003

The purpose of amendment 7 is to broaden the definition of a young person and to replace the upper age limit of 20 with 24. Almost 40 per cent of homelessness applications come from people aged between 16 and 24, despite that age group making up less than 15 per cent of the adult population of Scotland. Those people are much more likely to become homeless than people in other age groups are.

Under-25s are already treated differently by the law, as demonstrated by the single-room rent, which limits the amount of housing benefit that is payable. Mainstream benefits such as income support also discriminate against under-25s. That group is therefore more vulnerable to financial hardship.

Many young people aged between 21 and 24 continue to be very vulnerable, and amendment 7 proposes that care leavers or those who are vulnerable for the reasons covered by the bill should be regarded as being in priority need. That should not be restricted to young people aged between 18 and 20.

I move amendment 7.