Tories call for pregnant teenagers to lose housing benefit rights

Tory MPs say some teens get pregnant in order to secure free housing.
Tory MPs say some teens get pregnant in order to secure free housing.
Ian Dunt By

Tory backbenchers are risking resuscitating the party's 'nasty' tag today, as they put the finishing touches on a package of policy measures which includes harsh conditions on housing benefit for teenage mothers.

In the latest alternative policy document, the 40 Group also recommended limiting non-EU foreign students at UK university and cracking down on wind farms.

The document, which has been seen by the BBC ahead of publication, is by the 40 Tory MPs from the most marginal constituencies.

The proposals around teenage mothers are intended to get pregnancy rates down by correcting the impression that young people get free housing if they have a child.


"All benefits to teenage mothers should be made on the condition of them living with their parents or in supervised hostel accommodation," the document reads.

There is also a suggestion for parents of children who regularly commit truancy to lose some of their child benefit.

The document calls for a cap on the number of non-EU foreign students at UK universities, although the top 30 institutions would be exempt.

In a bid to win support in northern seats which are at risk of falling out of the hands of the Conservative party, the group suggests a new runway at Birmingham airport instead of work on aviation capacity in the south-east.

The MPs also demand more civil servants are moved outside of London.

The proposals are far less extreme than the 'alternative Queen's Speech' published by a small cabal of Tory MPs last month, in which they suggested banning the burqa, establishing a 'Margaret Thatcher day' and privatising the BBC.

But they will still cement the image of a 'nasty party' which imposes sanctions on the poorest members of society.

George Osborne has made benefits the centre piece of his 'dividing lines' with Labour, but some analysts believe the relentless rhetorical focus on welfare is doing the party damage among voters in Scotland and the north.

Nevertheless, the document has won considerable recognition from the leadership of the party. David Cameron has written the foreword and policy chief Jo Johnson is understood to have seen it and passed it on to policy groups.

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