Written Evidence submitted by Anchor Hanover
1.1 Anchor Hanover is England’s largest not-for-profit provider of care and housing for people in later life, with more than 60,000 residents in 54,000 homes across almost 1,700 locations, supported by more than 10,000 colleagues. We provide retirement housing to rent and to buy, retirement villages and residential care homes, including specialist dementia care and operate in more than 85% of local authority areas in England.
1.2 Of the 114 care homes we operate, nine were rated Outstanding and a further 97 Good at their most recent CQC inspections. This makes Anchor Hanover the most compliant of large providers in England.
2.1 As the UK economy recovers from the pandemic, Anchor Hanover is clear that older people’s housing should be at the heart of this recovery and the future of the UK’s public finances.
2.2 Pent-up demand for specialist housing is currently going unmet and, with 22% of the population forecast to be 65 or over by 2030, this is only likely to increase. Anchor Hanover has experienced a significant rise in enquiries during the pandemic, as lockdown has led to many older people considering their housing options for later life.
2.3 This demand presents an opportunity for the housing and construction sectors to stimulate growth in the economy and the tax system has a major role to play in helping to fulfil this. We are calling on the government to place ‘last-time buyers’ on an equal footing with ‘first-time’ buyers in terms of Stamp Duty with purchases of up to £300,000 nil-banded.
2.4 This simple reform will help to incentivise downsizing amongst older people, keeping the housing market moving and increasing the supply of specialist housing. This would not just benefit older people looking to downsize, as billions of pounds of housing wealth could be released into the market freeing up larger, family-sized homes for younger people and families which have become unmanageable and unsuitable to the needs of their older owners.
2.5 Despite the current under-supply, specialist older people’s housing already saves the NHS £486m per year, with £300m of this being a result of earlier discharge from hospital. By heading off crises which would otherwise require high-cost health care and reducing the risk of health conditions associated with poor housing, specialist housing helps older people to maintain their independence for longer, staving off the need to access services.
2.6 Anchor Hanover’s own services demonstrate the potential of older people’s housing to enhance the health and wellbeing of our residents whilst saving health and care services significant resources. Our report, undertaken with Sonnet Advisory & Impact, Understanding the social value of an Anchor Hanover tenancy, found that:
2.7 Placing ‘last-time’ buyers on an equal footing with ‘first-time’ buyers in terms of Stamp Duty will help to meet this pent-up demand, with huge benefits to public services, finances and the economy and society as a whole. Anchor Hanover is absolutely clear that this simple reform should be at the centre of taxation after the pandemic in order to help drive growth in these vital sectors.