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Cross-party alliance calls for more housing-with-care

June 19, 2019

A group of MPs, Lords, charity leaders and business leaders have publicly declared their support for the UK’s fast growing retirement community sector. The group, which includes MPs and peers from five political parties and groups has publicly backed calls for the UK retirement community sector to nearly quadruple in size by 2030 to 250,000 people.

The sector already accounts for 75% of all projected growth in the UK’s supply of specialist housing for older people from 2024 onwards. It is now aiming to double this projected output during the course of the next decade, to help tackle the housing shortage and the challenges facing the health and social care systems in the UK.

Political backers include former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Damian Green, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Adult Social Care, Eleanor Smith, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for housing, Lord Shipley, cross-bench peer Baroness Sally Greengross and Jim Shannon MP.

They are joined by key charitable leaders such as Anchor Hanover chief executive Jane Ashcroft and Friends of the Elderly chief executive Steve Allen. Backers from the world of business include Bupa UK chief executive David Hynam, Phil Bayliss (Legal & General’s chief executive of Later Living) and Audley Group chief executive Nick Sanderson.

Sometimes referred to as retirement villages, extracare housing, housing-with-care, assisted living, close care apartments, or independent living settings, retirement communities combine housing options with support services for older people. They allow residents to rent or own a property with optional access to care and support as needed.

As a sector, Retirement Community operators are committed to housing 250,000 older people by 2030, up from 75,000 today. Output is projected to reach 7,500 by 2024 and to exceed 15,000 before the end of that decade.

Michael Voges, executive director of the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO) said retirement communities offered older people a great lifestyle, stability, security and a chance to age well in their own homes.

“Onsite 24-hour support means that people are healthier for longer, thereby reducing the strain on social services and the NHS,” said Mr Voges.

“They also free up larger family homes which might otherwise have been under-occupied.

“Our sector has very significant growth ambitions, and will account for the overwhelming majority of new supply of specialist housing in the coming years. The support of so many high profile public figures shows the momentum this sector is developing is huge. This group will play a key role in helping to achieve this growth and ensuring that its focus remains on the health, wellbeing, housing and interests of residents.”

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