The next housing crisis: what about all those bedrooms?
Successive governments’ reluctance to address the looming housing
crisis is not news, but it creates news. The other day we had Tory chairman Grant
Shapps, the man whose name sounds like a disease of the voluntary sector, making
an international fool of himself for mistakenly and hysterically claiming the
UN special rapporteur on housing had not spoken to government officials, and for calling the 'bedroom tax' by its popular name. It is an indefensible policy, so you can sorta see his problem.
More helpfully, on the same day Demos
published a new report, The top of the ladder, on the UK’s ‘next housing crisis’ – the
chronic undersupply of appropriate housing for older people.
With some new polling and analysis of the English
Longitudinal Study of Ageing, the report claims that more than half (58
per cent) of people over 60 were interested in moving; and more than half (57
per cent) of those interested in moving wanted to downsize by at least one
bedroom, rising to 76 per cent among older people currently occupying three-,
four- and five-bedroom homes.
‘A lack of choice of suitable homes to downsize into is
having a negative effect not just on older people’s health and wellbeing, but
on the rest of the housing chain, as 85 per cent of larger family homes owned
by older people only become available when someone dies.’