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Government’s Housing Strategy overlooks needs of the retired

"At the start of the month, Housing Minister Grant Shapps launched the Government’s flagship Housing Strategy with a flurry of measures set to ‘get Britain building again’ and promising to put housing ‘centre stage’.

And, apparently progress has been made already – with government owned land identified for the building of 80,000 homes and details released that it is working with the likes of the BBC and Royal Mail to find unused sites for housing development. 

Mr Shapps expressed a determination to put an end to waiting lists for social housings and proposed a £19bn deal that will end the ‘tenants tax’ and give councils the freedom they need to build more homes in their area. Additionally, he promised not to repeat the mistakes of housing ministers in the past – who laid out endless policies that gathered dust on Whitehall shelves.

So far so good?
Worryingly, there was no mention of retirement housing. The UK is experiencing a major shortfall in supply of purpose built retirement property. With projections from the Office for National Statistics suggesting that the number of over 50s will rise from 12 million to 16 million by 2050, it is clear that this problem is not going away any time soon.

We would like to see acknowledgement from Government that it will address the shortfall in retirement housing as a core part of its housing strategy. Plans have been released about the government helping older people to ‘downsize’ to free up much sought after family homes which are currently occupied by elderly people. However, there have been no details on how they realise these plans, provide suitable alternative accommodation for these people or indeed, what kind of accommodation is planned. 

So whilst it is good news that Housing is being prioritised at last – we would urge the government not to look overlook the needs of the elderly in its planning.  The shortage of retirement housing is a big issue and it needs addressing now.”

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