Scottish housing with care task force to tackle lack of provision

Andrew Fyfe

A task force has been set up to establish why Scotland is falling behind England and comparable countries in housing with care provision for older people.

The Scottish housing with care task force has been established by Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO) and consultancy Sovereign Property Partnership, and includes operators, legal professionals, investors, property experts and local authorities.

Older people in Scotland have less than a tenth of the provision available to them compared to countries such as New Zealand, the US, Canada or Australia. Given the shortage of provision, the task force will aim to secure political backing for reform. The group is expected to investigate the challenges and to issue a report within the year.

‘Housing strategy in Scotland has so far failed to recognise the holistic societal benefits housing with care can provide,’ said Andrew Fyfe, co-founder of Sovereign Property Partnership and chair of the task force.

‘With our population ageing rapidly, now is the time to strike. Both the private and public sector will have an important role to play in boosting supply, but neither can do so without help at Scottish government level.

‘It is vital that housing with care forms part of the picture for social care reform, especially in light of what happened in care homes across the country during the pandemic.’

Only 0.35% live in a retirement community in Scotland compared to 0.6% of the over 65s in England. However, this rises to 5-6% in countries like New Zealand, Australia and the US. There are also ‘only a handful of planned developments’ north of the border, less than 5% of the UK total, ARCO said.

Gareth Lyon, head of policy and communications at the organisation, added: ‘With Scotland’s ageing population, the growing shortage of specialist housing provision and the social care system under increasing strain the time to act is now.

‘We are delighted to be working with the Scottish housing with care task force to develop policy solutions and to secure political support for these much needed changes. We hope to see their recommendations adopted at Holyrood in due course.’

In July, proposals for a cross-departmental housing with care task force were being considered, minister for care Helen Whately said.