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Homes for Older People

Volume 723: debated on Monday 21 November 2022

7. What steps he is taking with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to increase the supply of homes for older people including housing-with-care. (902298)

I know that my hon. Friend has considerable expertise in this area as a member of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee. As our population ages, we are committed to increasing the supply of specialist elderly accommodation, including housing-with-care. We work closely with the Department of Health and Social Care to incentivise supply through capital funding, such as through the affordable homes programme. We have also announced an older persons housing taskforce to examine this area and I hope to have more details of that in due course.

I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for her answer and welcome her to the Dispatch Box in her new role. The “Levelling Up” White Paper, released in February, promised this taskforce to build more homes for people who need care. I wonder when we will see it come into operation and start the important work of providing that accommodation.

As a new Minister in post, I wish to reassure my hon. Friend that I am committed to taking forward the taskforce and I have already spoken to the Minister for Care about re-establishing it.

One of the stated aims of levelling up is to

“restore a sense of community, local pride and belonging”.

Barnsley does not lack pride or community—we lack resources. After slashing 40% of our council’s budget, rejecting two levelling-up bids and now backing a Budget that places a heavy burden on councils, what are the Government doing to make sure that levelling up delivers a genuine economic boost to areas such as Barnsley?

I am sorry that Barnsley has not been successful in its levelling-up fund bids, but of course a variety of schemes have been put forward to improve local areas. Those are not finished and I wish her area every success in future bids.