A Government white paper has proposed incentivising the building of more sheltered accommodation to encourage the elderly to free up larger family homes.
The policy, which is part of a wider raft of measures designed to help renters and people trying to get onto the housing ladder, is designed to encourage councils, housing associations and smaller developers to build sheltered housing to break the dominance of a limited number of larger housebuilders.
It coincides with a major shift in housing policy designed to increase the supply of land, including freeing up the use of brownfield sites, in order to provide more affordable rental homes.
Housing minister Gavin Barwell said the plans were intended to encourage all forms of house building, including social housing, and acknowledged it was a “change of tone” from previous Conservative Party policy which focused on home ownership.
In an interview with ITV’s Robert Peston, Mr Barwell said: “First of all, we’ve got a lot of demographic change in the country and an increasing elderly population, so it’s not just about how many houses you build, but are you building the right kind of houses.
“If we can make it easier for elderly people to move into that kind of accommodation, it releases family homes that we’re desperate for.”
The white paper will also improve transparency on the identity of landowners after housing campaigners warned about the impact of an “opaque” market where land is held in various offshore trusts.
The Tories promised to build one million new homes by 2020 but construction rates are running far lower than the level needed to hit that target.
The deposit needed for first time buyers to get onto the housing ladder is at an all-time high with research by Halifax last summer suggesting that the amount required had increased by 14 per cent in just one year.
Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “We understand people are living longer in private rented accommodation, which is why we are fixing this broken housing market so all types of home are more affordable.
“These measures will help renters have the security they need to be able to plan for the future while we ensure this is a country that works for everyone.”
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