Gov’t plan to move parents in is wrong

Sarah Davidson

October 6, 2015

Nick Sanderson, chief executive of Audley Retirement Villages, made the comment after Sajid Javid MP and Jeremy Hunt MP said at the Conservative Party Conference this week that families should give up spare bedrooms to their parents or grandparents instead of putting them into care homes.

But Sanderson condemned the suggestion as “yet another sign that the government is focusing its efforts in both housing and elderly care in the wrong direction”.

He said: “We know that older generations value their independence incredibly highly and do not want to enter either care homes or rely on their family.

“What’s actually needed are more suitable and aspirational properties for over 55s. Properties which come with flexible care when it’s needed, allow older people to live in their own home and remain there with the confidence that help is available.

“Not only would this free up under-occupied family homes and give liquidity to the housing market, but would give older generations the retirement they want and deserve.

“This government would do better to focus on incentivising downsizing through helping provide land and planning permission to suitable housing and considering a stamp duty reprieve for those looking to purchase a smaller property.”

Sanderson’s views are similar to those expressed by the Financial Conduct Authority’s mortgage sector manager Lynda Blackwell during the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association debate last month.

She said at the time: “There are lots of questions about whether it’s right that the government should focus on the first-time buyer when in fact we have a real issue about the last time buyer.

“There are borrowers who pay off the mortgage who are sitting in a very big house: does there need to be thought given to how we build more appropriate housing for retired people in the right places.

“There is a big debate to be had about whether the government’s focus is actually in the right place.”

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