The housing minister said that old people knocking around in homes that are too big for them will be encouraged to downsize.
Chris Pincher told the House of Lords that almost four in ten homes are under-occupied and could be better used by younger families with children, and he said that the Government was keen to encourage housebuilders to create more developments suitable for pensioners, freeing up space in semis and freeing up more places for first-time buyers.
His comments to the Lord’s built environment committee came amid growing concerns that young people were unable to get on the housing ladder due to soaring prices and a huge deficit of suitable homes.
The Government has promised to build 300,000 homes a year but radical plans to accomplish this by shaking up the planning system are set to be watered down after a revolt by Tory politicians and voters in affluent areas.
Mr Pincher was asked by Baroness Bakewell, former ‘tsar for the elderly, what thought was being given to the increasing numbers of older people who may want to downsize.
He replied the challenge was that in the early 1990s, something like 31 per cent of properties was under-occupied and they were too big for the number of people rattling around inside them.
He said that now there’s 38 per cent, so it was a pretty significant number of homes where they see under occupation.
He continued that he believed there was an opportunity to encourage downsizing, promote the growth of the later living sector to free up homes in the middle of the market, those two and three-bedroom semis so that those properties can be moved into.
And he said that if you open up a three-bedroom semi for occupation, two or three steps back in the chain, it’s likely to open up a first-time buyer property.
Mr Pincher said steps to tackle the problem include a stipulation that one in ten homes built under the Government’s £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme must be specialist or adaptable, which includes later life.
But he was warned by peers that the punitive levels of stamp duty that must be paid by buyers are stopping older people from selling their large homes, and that downsizing has come to an end in some regions of London.
The minister replied that he was keen to make sure that they look at all the barriers that exist.
So, here comes the minister of unnecessarily large houses, so that they can boot you out of the home that you’ve worked for and spent much of your life in because they need those big houses for all the new immigrants with over eight children.
And I suspect that those who are advocating this, live in big under-occupied homes themselves, and how many of the great and good, including politicians would give up their homes in this way so that we can house bigger families, or is this yet another example of them telling us to do one thing while they do another?
Our country has become a dinghy people paradise, and our Government have given nothing to this country, and if we say anything we’re accused of being racist, and that’s what’s happening in this country, and taking pensioners homes to house large immigrant families just demonstrates the vulnerability of a government that can’t control its borders.
And now the government want to motivate people into giving up their homes. In the end, they will either tax you out or increase energy costs so high they’ll freeze you out – either way, the motivation will be a punishment, not a golden goodbye.