Budget 2015: credit where it's due

19 March 2015

John Punterby John Punter

Our Home Truths campaign has been pressing this government — and whoever may be the next — to do something about the appalling situation which faces many thousands of people across the country.

People with reduced mobility are using commodes in their living rooms and washing at their kitchen sinks. The nation’s housing simply does not meet the needs of people with reduced mobility conditions from disabled people to older members of our society.

This shouldn’t be the case. All parties agree we need more housing, but we’ve been campaigning for them to recognise that this housing should be built to be flexible and adaptable for people’s changing needs across their lives.

Over 500,000 people acquire a disability every year. They deserve decent, suitable housing as much as anyone else and also to be able to visit their friends and relatives in their homes.

Lifetime Homes and wheelchair accessible homes are the answer, which is why we’ve been calling for all new housing to be built to Lifetime Homes standards and for 10% to be wheelchair accessible.

It’s been an uphill struggle since we began in June last year, but as of yesterday, all three main parties have now stated on record the beginnings of their support for our proposals.

Buried deep in the ‘red book’, which is published after the Budget and carries all the policy detail, were two lines which made a promise that the government would consider how improved housing can be implemented ‘so that people with care needs can stay in their homes longer’.

It’s not going to grab the headlines, but it is a positive step in the right direction for our campaign. And for George Osborne this is his moment to forge a fulfilling legacy. Because when all the headlines have passed and he becomes another footnote of chancellors past, this small policy point could be imprinted on our housing stock for all those who need a decent home which suits their needs.

So credit where credit’s due: thank you, George Osborne. And whoever is the next Chancellor — make it happen!

John Punter is Public Affairs Manager at Leonard Cheshire Disability.


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