A housing with care taskforce is a very positive step

The government recently announced the formation of a task force to look at housing with care, which the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO), now call integrated retirement communities (IRCs). After years of ARCO campaigning for a housing with care taskforce this is a key step forward.

This is a really promising sign that Westminster is acknowledging the need for more, and better, retirement living options that bring care, wellbeing and housing together to let people live better, for longer.

The new Housing with Care task force was actually the subject of a recent House of Lords debate – an excellent result which demonstrated once again the cross departmental support for the initiative and its objectives. There is a lot of work for the task force to do. We know we need more housing, with care options integrated. And that this would take significant pressure off a groaning NHS and social care system. Peers asked questions on a number of issues including the need for a planning whitepaper.

I wholeheartedly support any initiative which simplifies the planning system and helps local authorities mandate the need for integrated retirement communities in any large-scale development. The important thing is that the dial is moving. We are starting to see housing talked about in the same conversations as care, and the difference that could make is incalculable.

Interestingly, while during the House of Lords debate there was talk of financial incentives, it’s important to note that with treasury funds under such pressure, it’s not money that is needed to unlock further growth in integrated retirement communities. The investment is there. We know from our own perspective that the largest institutional investors in the world recognise the potential in the sector. Audley is working with Octopus Real Estate, BlackRock, Schroders’ Real Estate Fund and Royal London to name a few, and AXA and L&G are also invested in the integrated retirement community sector.

It is government support, and changes to the planning system that could have the single most significant impact on increasing the supply of IRCs and doing so quickly. Let’s hope that more details of the task force and those on it are announced soon. There is much to explore when the first meeting takes place, likely to be shortly after the parliamentary recess.

Discover more about the care and support available to owners living in Audley retirement villages.