Retirement Housing – Government Perspective.

This follows on from the previous blog on my market overview of retirement housing.

The current Government only has housing for new starters on the housing ladder in it’s sights.    They see retirement housing as a luxury only to be made available to those who can afford to buy.  What’s more this may well become a self-fulfilling prophesy if left to the private sector housing developers.

From a narrow and historical perspective the Government may be right.   In the past publicly funded social housing for older people required  huge capital grants, which remain tied up in those houses to this day.   In addition, the majority of the tenants are dependant on housing benefit to pay some or all of the rent and service charges.

The days of large capital grants have long disappeared, along with any significant supply of new social housing.   More recently the treasury has turned it’s cost cutting eye to reducing the level of housing benefit.    These two austerity measures have  all but eliminated the financial viability of new retirement housing schemes for social rent.

This one-eyed view ignores the social and health benefits of retirement housing.   Furthermore, there are proven savings to health and social care.

You have to have an holistic approach and wide horizons to find a way ahead for social housing for older people.   It needs to make real and transparent the savings to the NHS  and to Social Services, as well as selling itself to older people themselves as a positive improvement in lifestyle.

Lets hope the Housing  Association movement can rise to this new challenge.

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2 Responses to Retirement Housing – Government Perspective.

  1. Thoughts about your latest ‘blog’ are making me delve into my mind’s eye for ideas.
    If I am correct I notice you allude to the altruism of what our forefathers dreamt off? For those unable to provide for themselves, and the follow on from WWII, the ‘Labour’ policies of Atlee and Bevan, and company: In providing for those who were less fortunate than some, and yet had fought in the defence of the country and empire in the armed services and reserved occupations, their children, siblings all with fortitude and the hardships of the day.
    It is my opinion that the nation wished to say ‘Thank You’! And to some extent this was achieved.
    Later in the 20th. Centaury the younger generations of the WWII veterans, maybe had come to expect the nations/governments of the day would alleviate their personal hardships; with respect to health, housing and welfare. This conundrum still stares us in the face today! As a nation? And one must ask who foots the bill?
    I am grateful personally throughout my life for the ideals and vision that the Atlee government, and succeeding governments have provided to help support members of my family.
    Being down and out is demoralising, but assistance and help is received most gratefully when it enables the person concerned to retain personal respect and self-confidence to lead an independent life once again, and be self-supporting and have a purposeful position in society. With respect directly to the blog and old age housing, I reflect in what I have just said above-recap: I feel my/our forefathers after the 1930’s slump-WWII saw with clear vision what was an ideology of Utopia, and with progressive decisions have to some extent provided the dream of life, and later life, that all the social groups within the UK can visualise and actually live the dreams of our forefathers.
    The government and local councils lead the way for the less fortunate! For Middle England the dream is required to be reviewed for realities sake, as they are self-sufficient to a point (asset rich), but not well heeled or rich enough to be able to be independent of any future financial crisis.
    For middle England we have persons of vision with respect to government, NHS, Welfare and old age: While the commercial reasons still prevail and the dangers of pursuing the love of ‘MOMON’ money! Some ideals are more balanced than others, and given the choice; one can come to a decision, such as ones future in a retirement village with the correct social mix, welfare, care, and financial investment, with confidence.
    Life is a calculation and acceptance of risk(s), rewards and commitments that only the individuals may be able to consider: However if balanced correctly it can bring peace of mind and happiness.

    • john graham says:

      Thanks for a very thoughtful post David. I agree with much of what you have said about the aspirational legacy of our society after the Second World War. The huge rush to build affordable social housing gave many post-war families a new start in life and the birth of the NHS added a blanket of safety and comfort.
      Sadly, the supply of new social housing has all but dried up as aspiration has turned to austerity and the NHS is being overwhelmed by the ageing of the post-war generation.
      So the key words in your post are “given a choice”. I will pick this up in my next post.
      Once again many thanks.

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