The Rt. Hon. Brandon Lewis, Minister of State for Housing and Planning responds to Mature Times
Everyone should enjoy the security and comfort that comes from having a home, which is why we are creating a housing market that meets the needs of older people by increasing the number of homes built and making sure existing stock is used more efficiently.
At the heart of our push to boost building will be a much greater choice of housing so people can move to more suitable homes if they want – be it to a home better suited to their needs, or a place closer to friends and family.
We recently doubled investment in housing and set out the largest house building programme for 40 years. Last year we spearheaded a 25 per cent increase in the number of homes – the largest annual increase for 28 years – across all types of housing.
We are also helping people live full and independent lives and have the lifestyle they choose by putting them in the driving seat of deciding the best housing option them.
We are enabling people to remain safely in their own home and have made this a key element of the Government’s commitment to supporting older people.
This is the driving force for the creation of the Better Care Fund that will see £5.3bn spent this year, which is helping to get social care and health services to work better together, and which ensures housing and housing-related services are a key component.
We’ve incorporated the Disabled Facilities Grant into the Fund, to reflect the critical importance of housing adaptations to sustaining well-being and helping older and disabled people to live independently.
This provision is supporting home adaptations including stair lifts, level access showers and in some instances home extensions to help people to live as comfortably, safely and independently as possible in their own homes for longer.
And the Government is taking this further by increasing the Disabled Facilities Grant year-on-year for the next five years to provide £500m after funding 250,000 adaptions to older and disabled people’s homes in England since 2010.
We are also leading initiatives and reforms that will build a million homes in the coming years to accelerate the progress we’ve already made.
Councils should think about building more bungalows and other types of homes to meet the needs of their older residents in their area, so if someone does want to move the properties are there for them to choose from.
And a new supply of suitable housing for older people is as part of our £1.6bn commitment to provide 100,000 homes for affordable or intermediate rent, many of which will be built specifically for vulnerable and older people.
Our landmark Housing and Planning Bill will deliver additional new homes and ensure that the very best use is made of social housing and the Department of Health is spending nearly £85m to support 79 specialist housing schemes which will provide up to 2,000 affordable homes over the next few years.
We are always looking at what more can be done but we’re determined to ensure
a range of housing options are available to all people. We are ensuring no one should feel forced to move out of a home they love because of changing circumstances and that more options are available for older people if they choose to move.
Brandon Lewis is the Minister of State for Housing and Planning for Department for Communities and Local Government and Member of Parliament for Great Yarmouth. He was elected at the 2010 general election.