Older people need more housing aid, say MPs

Written By: Ian Hernon
Published: February 9, 2018 Last modified: February 9, 2018

The cross-party communities and local government select committee has urged that older people should be given more help with housing to help them stay healthy and reduce the need for residential care.

A new national strategy should include funding for a handyman service, “age proofing” all new build homes and a national helpline to offer advice on housing options, the MPs said.

The committee reported that 18% of the population was 65 or older in 2016 and the number of people aged 85 and over was set to double to nearly 5% over the next 25 years.

It recommended that the government’s National Planning Policy Framework for England be amended to encourage more housing to be built specifically for older people. And it said there should be a new national strategy for older people – linked to the upcoming green paper on social care.

But the committee was not convinced of the need to have a stamp duty exemption for older people.

Chair Clive Betts said: “With an ageing population, it’s vital that the link between housing and health and social care is recognised. There is a huge variety of housing options for those in later life, so it’s important that older people are given help to make the right decisions about their future.

“A properly funded telephone advice service, bringing together information on everything from repairs and heating to moving and care options, would help people to make the right choices and live comfortably whether in their present homes or by moving to different accommodation.

“The right kind of housing can help people stay healthy and support them to live independently. This can help reduce the need for home or residential care, bringing real benefits to the individual and also relieving pressure on the health service.”

About Ian Hernon

Ian Hernon is Deputy Editor of Tribune