COUNTY NEWS: Inquiry launched in response to ‘disadvantages’ faced by older people

News. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150807-174846001
News. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150807-174846001
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An inquiry has been launched in response to older people in rural areas facing a lack of affordable housing, access to social care, poor public transport and broadband issues.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) announced the Rural Housing for an Ageing Population: Policy Initiatives at a sumit on Wednesday.

Co-chairmen Lord Best and Peter Aldous (MP for Waveney) urged people to share their views on the ‘urgent issue’.

In a letter to the Telegraph, the pair said: “Housing problems in many rural areas are at a critical level and older people living in rural communities may suffer extra disadvantages if they need additional support.

“Transport costs limit access to social care. Council funds are in short supply. Inadequate public transport – and, indeed, broadband connections – and closure of services such as rural post offices, shops and pubs only exacerbate the problem further for older people.

In a statement, released by rural affordable housing specialists Hastoe Group, it stated: “A quarter of the 11.4 million people living in predominantly rural areas are now over 65 years old – that’s 2.8 million people.

“The inquiry will bring together peers, MPs, housing providers and other rural organisations to consider recommendations to ensure that older people in rural areas can enjoy appropriate housing and access adequate care and support at home.”

Sue Chalkley, chief executive of Hastoe Group which is sponsoring the inquiry, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this important inquiry which will encourage joined-up thinking to help find innovative solutions to the challenges faced by older people across the countryside.

“Hastoe is passionate about rural areas and we must work towards ensuring that everyone in our rural communities has access to good quality and affordable housing.”

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