Greengates Builders Merchants

The Government Wants Your House!

Pensioner groups lined up to attack ‘outrageous’ proposals to encourage elderly homeowners to downsize into smaller properties.

Housing minister Grant Shapps wants councils to help older people move into ‘more suitable accom­moda­tion’ to allow their homes to be rented out to young families.

Under the proposals, local authorities would take respon­sibility for maintaining and renting the vacated properties at affordable prices, handing any profit back to the elderly owner.

Over-50s group Saga last night described the idea as ‘outrageous social engineering’ – saying older people will be horrified that they should be pressured into moving out of family homes they have spent all their lives paying for.

The National Pensioners’ Convention asked why the elderly were being targeted to help solve the shortage of housing, when it was the Government’s respon­sibility to ensure more homes were built.

Mr Shapps said there was a nationwide shortage of housing, and pointed out that about 25million bedrooms in England are empty, largely because elderly couples do not move out of family homes into smaller properties.

He claimed the idea would also help older people, many of whom want to downsize but find it hard to do so.

He highlighted a scheme run by Redbridge council in East London to encourage pensioners to move – and suggested it could be expanded nationally. He said: ‘For too long the housing needs of the elderly have been neglected.  ‘Older people who should be enjoying their homes have watched helplessly as their properties have become prisons, and many have been forced to sell their homes and move into residential care.

‘Urgent change is needed to ensure the nation’s housing needs are met.

Moving to more suitable accom­moda­tion can make a life-changing difference for some older people.’

Greengates Builders Merchants were shocked to hear of the Governments proposals.

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