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Letter to the Times on Housing Standards

31 October 2014

The following letter was printed today (October 31) in the Times.

Sir, we write to express our concern that the Government’s Housing Standards Review could reduce the number of new homes built that meet the needs of disabled and older people.

Accessibly designed homes can support independence, help prevent falls, reduce length of hospital stays and delay costly and unwanted moves to residential care. A night in hospital costs the NHS around £273 whilst a week’s residential care averages £550. The Government estimates that a three bedroom home built to their proposed Category 2 costs just £521 more to build than its less accessible equivalent, less than one week’s bill for residential care.

There is a wide consensus on the urgent need to ready ourselves for the health, housing and social care needs of our ageing population and there are already an estimated 11.6 million disabled people in Britain. Mainstream developments must deliver accessible, adaptable homes if we are to rise to this challenge.

The government should seize this opportunity to establish a higher minimum   design requirement. Failing to do so will seriously jeopardise the supply of the very kind of homes we need right at the moment we need them most.

Signatories:

Paul Gamble, Habinteg,

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK

Kate Henderson, TCPA

Liz Sayce, DRUK

Gavin Dunn, BRE

Clare Pelham, Leonard Cheshire Disability