Belfast Telegraph

Idris Elba savages housing benefit cuts at Shelter fundraiser

The actor took a stand at a gig alongside Mercury Prize winning artist Skepta.

Actor Idris Elba has attacked government cuts to housing benefits for 18-21-year-olds.

The 44-year-old Luther star hit out at the move which came into effect in April and stop out-of-work young adults from automatically receiving the benefits, as he threw his support behind housing and homelessness charity Shelter.

Idris was speaking at a fundraising gig for the charity at Islington Assembly Hall headlined by Mercury Prize-winner Skepta.

As he introduced the Tottenham-born musician, Idris said: “It’s 2017, there’s 850 people here tonight but there’s like at least 1,000 men and women on the streets tonight. That’s f*****y.”

He called on gig-goers to sign Shelter’s petition and told them they could effect change “brick by brick”.

He said: “We have one of the strongest currencies in the world, why do we have 60,000 women and single mothers homeless that’s f*****y, that’s bulls***.”

“The Government is trying to take away housing allowances from 18-21-year-olds … Seriously man. No one should be homeless it’s f****** bullshit.”

The new Universal Credit regulations state that out of work 18-to 21-year-olds will no longer have automatic access to housing benefit, though exceptions will be made in some cases, including where there is a threat to mental or physical health if they live with their parents.

Idris’ plea was followed by a rousing 45-minute set by Skepta with guest appearances from his brother JME as well as US rapper ASAP Rocky and Shorty.

Skepta, whose Konnichiwa album beat David Bowie’s Blackstar to the Mercury Award last year, told the crowd the gig was about “love”.

The Shutdown rapper added: “This is isn’t about any celebrity giving back, this is about us all giving back. Everyone should give back, everyone.

‘How important is it for people in my position to give back?’ … I’m like, what position is that bruv, everyone should give back, it’s a normal procedure.”

Shelter said the sell-out gig raised more than £30,000.

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