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Levelling Up Bill must not leave older people behind

by Lisa Carr

With the Queen’s Speech confirming that the Government will introduce a Levelling Up Bill in the coming session which will include provisions to improve the planning system providers of older people’s housing and care have called for an end to the unjust way in which older people are ignored by the planning system.

Based on the largest ever poll amongst older people about housing and care only 8% thought that they were given enough priority in the planning system whereas 70% thought that they were not.

This finding reflects the fact that only 18.6% of local authorities have clear policies and land allocations for older people’s housing despite consistently rising demand and the UK’s ageing population.

An expansion of older people’s housing also has great potential to help revitalise decaying high streets and benefit people of all ages in town centres – a firm priority of the Queen’s Speech.

Michael Voges, Executive Director of ARCO said:

“The last Planning White Paper failed to mention older people or our ageing population once. Since then the situation has become even more severe – unmet demand is increasing and our social care system is straining at the seams. The planning system is in desperate need of reform to allow more provision to come online.

“Today’s announcement of a Levelling-up Bill with planning provisions in the coming session presents an ideal opportunity for the Government to show it is serious about supporting older people, providing them with choices about where to live and to provide more alternatives to care homes. We also know that giving older people better downsizing options is the best possible way to free up suitable homes for families and younger people.

“It is clear that older people themselves are thoroughly unsatisfied and feel ignored by the current system. It is time to level-up for older people too.”

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