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MPs call for elderly housing target

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Councils should set a target for the proportion of new housing built for older people as part of a national strategy to improve policy, a committee of MPs has said.

A report today by the Commons’ communities and local government committee has also called for the forthcoming social care green paper to recognise the link between housing, health and social care.

It calls for the planning policy framework to be amended to encourage the development of more housing for older people and recommends councils publish a strategy explaining how they plan to meet local housing needs.

The report said making housing advice and information more widely available to older people should be central to a national strategy.

Committee chair Clive Betts (Lab) said: “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.”

Responding to the report, the Local Government Association’s housing spokesperson Martin Tett (Con) said quality housing and adaptations play an important role in preventing older people from needing hospital care.

He added: “But councils need the tools to build homes that meet the health needs of their older residents.

“This includes giving councils the freedom to borrow and invest in building new housing and retain receipts from right-to-buy sales in full so they can replace homes sold.

“Planning teams also need to be properly resourced so they can deliver homes faster and for planning powers to be given to councils to ensure the timely build out of homes and environments that are suitable to support positive ageing.”

Rachael Docking, senior evidence manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, highlighted the recommendation that a “national advice service” should be created for older people, adding that it would ensure people got support to make their homes safe and accessible as they aged.

“We also welcome the call for housing to play a greater role in planning local health and care services - which is essential given how integral housing is for the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities,” she added.

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