A Glimmer of Hope?

One of the consequences of the recent tumultuous events is a sense that everything else in the political and policy arena is on hold.

This includes housing policy, where the focus is on speculation about a possible market crash.

However, life does move on, people need homes and the issue of decent housing for an ageing population still needs a radical policy response.

This week saw two long awaited reports of relevance to this subject published. The first to come along was the preliminary report of the Local Government Association’s Housing Commission, ‘Building our Homes, Communities and Future.’

At this point I declare an interest as I have been acting as one of the two ‘ageing and health section’ expert advisers to the Commission and our detailed input has been into the sub-section on ageing. However, we have tried to make the case that consideration of population ageing and building homes that support healthy living and well-being across the life course, need to woven in throughout the Commission’s report. I hope that others will support this bigger picture vision for design of an accessible, inclusive built environment.

The second report is the culmination of many years of important research, debate and deliberation about the necessary policy response to demographic change and an ageing society. This is the Government Office for Science’s summary report of its ‘Foresight’ Project into ageing, ‘Future of an Ageing Population’.

This report has an extensive section about housing and notes that building suitable new homes and supporting the adaptation of the existing housing stock will be critical as the population ages. The section also reflects how interconnected housing is to all of the other considerations – wealth/ assets/ health/ work/ transport/ neighbourhoods and technology.

We can only hope that in the latter case the evidence, conclusions and recommendations will be taken up whoever eventually takes up the reins of government.


8th July 2016