SHIP knocks downsizing scheme mooted for pensioners

Safe Home Income Plans has cast doubt on housing minister Grant Shapps’ plans to encourage pensioners to downsize to free up housing stock.

In an interview with The Telegraph last week, the housing minister suggested councils should help pensioners move into smaller properties to free up accommodation for families. Councils would also be responsible for maintaining and renting the properties at affordable rates. They would transfer any profits from the rent back to the owner.

But Andrea Rozario, director- general of SHIP, says there is likely to be a huge cost attached to such a scheme.

She says: “The government has made it clear that no-one will be forced to take part in the scheme so it does beg the question of how many older people will choose to leave their family homes, with which they are likely to have emotional ties, and move into a smaller property – potentially away from family and friends.”

She says older people may want to consider downsizing, but on their own terms.