Thursday 25 June 2020 12:01 am

Builders urge government to target 30,000 new houses for elderly a year in pandemic recovery

The three largest retirement home providers have warned Boris Johnson that Britain’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic will be “running on empty” if he does not urgently build new houses for older people.

The chief executives of McCarthy & Stone, Churchill Retirement, and Lifestory Group have written to the Prime Minister urging him to build 30,000 new homes a year for older people.

They said the government should set a target of making 10 per cent of new housing specific for the older age bracket.

In the letter, they argue that building houses for the older generation can stimulate action in the housing market, as older people move house to downsize and younger people buy their previous property.

“Building more specialist retirement housing would be a win-win for the government,” they said. 

“It would unlock the housing market, helping older people, young families and first-time buyers. It would also assist with attempts to fix the social care crisis once and for all.”

The bosses also said that building specialist housing would help ensure that vulnerable people are better protected against future pandemics, highlighting that they have seen extremely low levels of infection from Covid-19 among their residents, who are typically over 80.

“With the number of older people in England growing significantly, the time to act is now,” they said. 

“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.”