Cut social care need with a nationwide plan for housing the elderly, MPs tell ministers


A new national strategy to deal with the housing needs of older people has been called for by MPs.

More emphasis should be put on the links between homes and health in a bid to reduce the numbers who need social care, according to a report by the Commons Communities and Local Government Committee.

MPs also want a range of measures introduced to help older people overcome barriers to moving home, including better customer service and guidance from lenders.

However, the committee said it was not convinced by calls to bring in a stamp duty exemption for older people.

Committee chairman Clive Betts said the link between health and housing should be recognised (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/(Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)/PA)
Committee chairman Clive Betts said the link between health and housing should be recognised (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/(Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)/PA)

Extra funding should be made available for home improvement agencies operating schemes such as a handyperson service for older people, the report said.

All new homes should be "age proofed" to take into account the needs of older people, the committee said as it called for a national helpline to offer advice on the best housing available.

The National Planning Policy Framework needs to be amended to encourage the development of more housing for older people, MPs said.

The report highlighted the need to take action by stating that 18% of the population was aged 65 or older in 2016, and the number of people aged 85 and older is set to double to nearly 5% during the next 25 years.

Committee chairman Clive Betts said: "With an ageing population, it's vital that the link between housing and health and social care is recognised.

"A new national strategy for older people, taking on board the recommendations of our report, should be linked to the Government's forthcoming social care green paper.

"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.

"The green paper must consider the range of housing for older people, from mainstream and accessible homes to supported and extra care housing, as well as access to adaptations and repairs."

A Government spokesman said: "We've set out an ambitious programme of reforms to boost housing supply for everyone - including elderly people.

"We're also committed to helping older and disabled people live independently and safely and we're providing funding to help local housing authorities make a range of adaptations to a disabled or elderly person's home, such as installing ramps and stair lifts."