The White Paper sets out our plan to promote high quality housing to support individual choices. As well as helping more people to adapt their current homes effectively, we are establishing a new capital fund, worth £200 million over 5 years, to support the development of more specialised housing for older and disabled people.
The policies for housing set out in the White Paper continue the Government’s ambitious agenda for housing outlined in last year’s housing strategy. We will work at both a national and local level to increase the availability of options to support people’s housing choices.
Currently, there is not enough good quality specialised housing to support people who want to downsize as their care needs change. This was a common theme raised by stakeholders during the ‘Caring for our future’ engagement. To help with this problem, the government will stimulate the market for new accommodation options that provide solutions tailored to individual needs.
Assessing local need
The White Paper outlines our expectation for local authorities to take account of local housing need in their assessments, and for these assessments to influence commissioning plans.
The government hopes that unnecessary planning barriers to providers of specialised housing are minimised wherever possible, to enable a healthier market that can respond to demand and the needs of the local area. The National Planning Policy Framework will simplify the planning system and promote sustainable growth, and the forthcoming industry-led toolkit ‘Planning Ahead: Effective Planning for Housing and Care in Later Life’ will give advice to planning officials at a local level. The toolkit will also highlight opportunities where developers and local authorities can work together to meet the needs of the local population.
Modifying people’s homes
We want people to be better supported in their housing choices if this means staying in their current home. This could include having adaptations installed, such as handrails or stairlifts. The Department of Health recently directed £20 million to the Disabled Facilities Grant, which will be spent at a local level adapting people’s homes.
We will also work more closely with Foundations, the national body for home improvement agencies, to make sure that more people receive support at the right time to get appropriate home modifications.