The Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO) launches its new Housing with Care Grey Paper today, which features essays and policy recommendations from 14 high-profile authors.
A cross-party group of MPs and Peers have joined forces with leaders from academia, finance, local politics and housing to call for urgent Government action to improve housing and care options for older people.
The Grey Paper is published at what it calls a ‘critical juncture’ for the UK’s support for older people. While the Government is currently consulting on its ‘Planning for the future’ White Paper, social care reforms are expected later in the year, both of which will have a significant impact on the lives of older people.
The housing with care sector, which the Grey Paper focuses on, combines independent living for older people with the provision of onsite care and support if needed. Housing with care providers have helped support older people throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, providing high-quality care and helping to reduce loneliness.
Yet, the sector only provides a home for 0.6% of over-65s, considerably less than the 5-6% seen in similar countries like New Zealand, Australia and the US. The Grey Paper’s recommendations aim to redress that imbalance.
The report’s authors set out a series of concrete policy actions for the Government to improve housing and care provision, including:
- A cross-government Housing with Care Task Force.
- Greater clarity in the planning system to define different types of older people’s housing, including a new planning category for housing with care.
- Better financial incentives for older people to ‘right size’ into more suitable properties.
- Expanding the number of ‘lifetime homes’ fit for all ages.
- Securing a better deal for paid and unpaid care workers.
- A sustainable funding formula for social care, including a Universal Care Entitlement.
Michael Voges, Executive Director of ARCO, said, ‘The new Housing with Care Grey Paper demonstrates just how much cross-party and cross-society support there is for better housing provision and expansion of care options for older people. We’re delighted to have received 14 thoughtful and incisive contributions from figures across politics, academia, finance, housing and more, and we urge the Government to take their recommendations seriously.
'What unites the pieces is the sense that bringing about change is going to require cross-government action, and that’s exactly why we’re calling for a Housing with Care Task Force to be set up with immediate effect.’
Jane Ashcroft CBE, Chief Executive of Anchor Hanover, said, ‘In the next 15 years, 4.4 million more people will be aged 65 or over. We cannot wait any longer to secure a positive future for today’s and tomorrow’s older generations. The Government has got to finalise its ‘clear plan’ to resolve social care as soon as possible – including measures to boost housing with care which improves the independence, health and wellbeing of older people.
‘There are challenges for us all; for businesses, for public services and for each one of us as individuals. Action now can positively change how we age.’
Les Mayhew, Head of Global Research at the International Longevity Centre UK and Professor of Statistics at City University’s Business School, said, 'There is currently a woeful shortage of retirement housing for rent and purchase in the UK, restricting the choices and freedom of older people to live as they wish in their later years.
The private sector has a big role to play in tackling this under-supply, but the Government must also do much more, by reforming the planning system to make it easier to invest in retirement housing, and introducing better financial incentives for older people to ‘rightsize’. Taking these steps will allow us all to live much happier, healthier lives as we age.'
Visit the ARCO website to download and read the Grey Paper in full.