Does The UK Need A Help-to-Buy Scheme For The Older Generation?

Nov 28, 2014

According to an article by Lord Best on The Guardian website last week, if the Help to Buy scheme was available to the over 60s, it could help free up thousands of larger homes for young families.

In the UK, says Best, the housing shortage is felt mostly by those aged 40 or under. Yet the decision makers and the majority of voters are older. As a result, perceptions of the housing crisis vary hugely, depending on age.

While young families are struggling in their search for a home, many older people – particularly those over 60 – are living in large family homes where a number of bedrooms remain vacant. These homes can be expensive to heat and the stairs can be hard to manage as they reach old age.

This is the reason that Best, along with a group of Lords and MPs, are calling for a new “Help-to-Move” package, whereby older people will be helped to move into smaller homes. The package would be similar to Help-to-Buy; they would have access to a top-up mortgage, and they would receive a cut in stamp duty.

Best claims they want to “kickstart a national shift towards downsizing” and encourage those over retirement age to consider moving sooner rather than later. There would be opportunities to free up around 4.3 million family homes, many of which have gardens, and would be perfect for young families.

The proposal is somewhat controversial. What are your thoughts on Lord Best’s ideas for a Help-to-Move scheme for the older generation?