How realistic is it for the latest proposal backed by labour, for the over 60s to either sell their family homes and downsize, freeing larger properties for use by the younger generation, or be heavily taxed should they choose to remain ?
Who is to say how much space each individual needs? Why should hardworking individuals be forced to leave a home they have worked hard to pay for? How does vacating a larger property solve the problem if younger families are not in a position to afford them?
With the pension age increasing, many people in their 60s may well be using spare bedrooms as home offices. Why should someone not be able to offer friends and family overnight accommodation just because they have reached a given age? What if additional rooms are required should a family member require care in the future?
As someone in their 50s who has very recently ‘downsized’, my former 5 bedroom home with a very large plot was not bought by a young family- but by a mature couple whose children had left home. Nor did we move to a small flat- we still wanted to enjoy a home with good entertaining space but with a more manageable garden having grown tired of looking after more than 2 acres. We also wanted to relocate to be closer to family and friends- but this was a choice we made at a time that suited us.
I would like to think that the home we have now chosen will serve us well in the future- closer to parents with room for the family to come and stay. It would be horrific to feel that a government policy could dictate that just because one or both of us reached the next decade of our lives we might be told we had to sell.
Women in their 50s have already had to change their retirement plans
With an ageing population (I believe somewhere in the region of 40% of voters are now over 50), I would have thought that any political party wishing to be in government would not wish to alienate such a large proportion of the electorate. Female voters have already had to accept radical changes to their retirement plans with the increase in pension age. To take away their choice of home, paid for through their own efforts, is ludicrous.
Where people have worked hard to buy , not just a house, but create a home and a life, with all that doing so entails, it should be for them to decide if and when they choose to downsize.
Those who have worked in the private sector and who are at the mercy of stockmarket driven pensions may have incorporated the value family home into their longer term financial plans- when to release the equity should be a matter of choice, not dictat.
No-one is saying that there is not a lack of affordable family housing. But forcing the older generations into smaller homes is not the answer.
Photo credit: Digitalart