The prime minister has been urged to help build 30,000 new retirement homes a year as part of the government’s economic recovery plan.
In a letter sent to Number 10, McCarthy & Stone’s John Tonkiss, Churchill Retirement Living’s Spencer McCarthy and Lifestory Group’s Mark Dickinson, state that “the recovery drive will be running on empty if we don’t take urgent action to help the millions of people who actively want to downsize.”
The government must set a target of making 10% of new housing specifically for the older population, the chief executives of the three largest specialist retirement housing providers stated.
The group set out the economic and social benefits of building 30,000 new retirement homes yearly, with retirement housing in all forms key to restarting the housing market as well as keeping vulnerable people safer from future pandemics. With their residents typically aged over 80, the chief executives claimed that within their schemes, they had seen “extremely low” levels of coronavirus infection.
Their letter stated that making a proportion of new homes suitable for the older population would boost transactions throughout the housing market, “helping young families and first-time buyers move onto and up the ladder”, aid older people’s health and happiness and, with residents of specialist retirement properties less likely to need hospitalisation, “generate fiscal savings to the NHS and social care services of approximately £3,500 per person per year”.
Part of the letter read: “With the number of older people in England growing significantly, the time to act is now. The government has given the housing market the green light to get moving again and we welcome this. But the risk is that the recovery drive will be running on empty if we don’t take urgent action to help the millions of people who actively want to downsize.”