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Greater Manchester Combined Authority has lent its support to a campaign calling for the government to ensure that all new homes are built to a higher standard of accessibility.

It is the latest organisation to back the Housing Made for Everyone (HoME) coalition’s push to change building standards ahead of tomorrow’s closure of a government consultation on housing accessibility and adaptability.

In particular, the coalition is calling for the government to make the ‘accessible and adaptable’ design standard – set out in Building Regulations M4 Category 2 – the mandatory baseline for all new homes.

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The campaign comes as the UK’s population continues to age quickly and significantly. According to the Office for National Statistics, one in four of the population is set to be over the age of 65 by 2050.

To prepare for the needs of this growing demographic, HoME wants to ensure all new housing is suitable for the changing needs of the UK’s ageing population and disabled people.

Published in July 2020, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s English Housing Survey found that 91 per cent of homes in the UK do not provide even the lowest level of accessibility and only one accessible home is planned per 15 people.

Now, Greater Manchester –voted the UK’s first age-friendly city region by the World Health Organization in 2018 – has added its voice to the call for more accessible, adaptable housing.

Counsellor Brenda Warrington, Lead for the Age-Friendly and Equalities portfolio at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), said: “As we all grow older we should not have to outgrow our homes. The places where we live should support our changing needs and allow us to remain in – and contribute to – the communities that are the social and economic centres of our cities, towns and villages.

“We have an opportunity to make our voices heard, and in these last days ahead of the deadline I would urge people to take part and have their say.”

The GMCA joins the Local Government Association (LGA) in its support of HoME’s campaign, with the LGA calling on the government to work with councils, developers and housing associations to provide a “sustainable funding framework”.

Anna Dixon, Chief Executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, said she is delighted that Greater Manchester are backing the calls for more accessible homes.

“We are reaching a crucial stage when the government will need to decide whether or not to raise the accessibility standards for new homes,” she commented.

“It is vital as many people as possible support our call for increasing the standards for accessibility to show the government how important this issue is. The best way for people to show their support is by responding to the consultation before the deadline of 1 December.

“Building more accessible housing will enable people to remain independent and safe at home, and delay or avoid moves to residential care. If the government acts now they can improve the lives of millions of people.”

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