Government Announces Adult Social Care Reforms

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Social Care Reforms

The Government announced last week that, from October 2023, there will be changes made to the Social Care system. These changes will affect how much you will need to pay towards your care in the future. These changes are currently proceeding through Parliament.

The current average cost in England of a stay in a residential home is £600 per week, with nursing care costing on average £800 per week.

What is the current system?

Currently, if the value of your capital assets is above £23,250 then your care fees will need to be fully self-funded, and you will not receive any financial support from the Local Authority, subject to certain limited disregarded items in certain circumstances.

If the value of your capital assets are between, £14,250 and £23,250, then you will get some financial help from the Local Authority.

If your assets are less than £14,250, then you must continue paying from your income, subject to a ‘protected’ lower amount, but you will not need to contribute from your capital. The Local Authority will pay the remainder.

Your Local Authority will do a ‘means test’ to work out how much you will need to contribute from your capital towards the cost of your care.

What are the new changes?

MPs voted this week by a sizeable majority to approve the following changes to the Social Care system.

  • If the value of your capital assets is above £100,000 then you will need to fully self-fund your care.
  • If the value of your capital assets is between £20,000 and £100,000, then you will need to contribute to a percentage of the fees, based on your income and savings, but you can request financial support from the Local Authority on a means-tested basis.
  • If the value of your capital assets is below £20,000 then you will not have to use your capital to pay for your care, although you will still need to contribute from your income, subject to a ‘protected’ lower amount.

The Government also announced that people will not be made to pay more than £86,000 (a lifetime cumulative amount) in care costs. Whilst, on the face of it, this change may be welcomed by many who worry about spending their life savings on care fees, and needing to sell their homes to fund their care costs, this cap does not include the costs of accommodation and food – only personal care. However, care costs paid whilst at home will count towards this total lifetime amount.

This change will only benefit those starting care from October 2023. If you are already paying for your care, then you will not benefit from the new changes.

Can I protect my savings for my family?

There is no definitive answer to this question. It is important to consider your aims and objectives, and your personal and family circumstances. We can advise and support you about the payment of care fees and the relevant disregards. Learn more about this and the matters mentioned above, or to review any existing steps or structures you may have taken or tried to put in place in this area, by getting in touch with our private client team.

These changes will not affect the Deprivation of Capital Rules or the Continuing Healthcare Funding entitlement to Nursing Care (not residential costs or food) for those who are assessed as needing nursing care which is a NHS responsibility.

 

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With our adaptable and creative approach, we ensure your family’s interests are always protected in troubled times. We know that no two families are the same and we take the time to understand the intricacies and sensitivities of the situations that you face.

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Repurposing the high street for later living

It is estimated that every year, unsuitable housing costs the NHS £1.4 billion. Issues with cold, damp and hazards causing trips and falls are leading to poor physical and mental health amongst the elderly. But what if there was a way to resolve this?

Last year, COVID-19 caused an average of 48 shops, restaurants and other leisure and hospitality venues to close permanently every day across England, Wales and Scotland. With a high number of empty units available, could repurposing the high street provide a better and safer solution to retirement housing?

The benefits

As reports of isolation are increasing, many of the retired generation are now seeking out sociable communities within close proximity of a town or city centre. Being surrounded by the hustle and bustle of town life offers the opportunity to take advantage of shops, restaurants and other cultural activities.

While car parking is often high up on the list of requirements for retirement living, building these communities close to all the necessary amenities reduces the reliance placed on motor cars by the older generation and could therefore be argued is more sustainable in the long run.

The challenges

However, city centre sites can be considerably harder to deliver from a construction perspective.

In the event a building is listed, developers will need to make extra considerations. As well as ensuring the basic requirements for retirement-friendly housing are met, such as accessible entrances and elevators, developers will also need to work within the existing infrastructure which can be more costly in the long term.

Nevertheless, despite these challenges, repurposing the high street for later living provides overwhelmingly positive benefits for the whole community.

Integrating a community within a community

When introducing any new building, it is important to get the support of the wider community, to avoid any issues or objections down the line.

Not only could the construction process result in some disruption, but the building design could also negatively impact existing residents and surrounding businesses. As a result, opening up a line of communication with the local authority and local residents beforehand would provide vital feedback on the project.

Carrying out prior research can also help to tackle any feelings of negativity towards the project and ensure that the location and building is in fact right for the retirement and wider community.

Although repurposing high street buildings for later living is still a relatively new concept, it could offer a viable way forward. Utilising empty units could not only indirectly benefit the NHS and help tackle loneliness, but it could also provide a safe and comfortable living experience for the retired generation.

Get in touch to find out how our building communities team can help.

We have launchedourguide to recovery and resilience, helping to support businesses and individuals unlock their potential, navigate their way out of lockdown and make way for a brighter future. Further advice in relation to COVID-19 can be found onourdedicated coronavirus resource hub.

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Our free legal helpline offers bespoke guidance on a range of subjects, from employment and general business matters through to director's responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring,fundingand disputes. We also have a team of experts on hand for any queries on family and private matters too. Available from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, call0800 689 4064.

 

 

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Build to rent and retirement living – better together

Challenges faced by the retirement living sector over the last year have highlighted that a change in approach is needed in order to improve its reputation and services. One option is to collaborate with the ‘build to rent’ market, creating a new type of community that can benefit both young and old.

What is build to rent?

Simply speaking, a build to rent property is a private, residential property that has been built and designed specifically for the rental market. These homes are typically owned and managed by a company, rather than a private landlord, and are based in dedicated complexes that come with a variety of perks such as a concierge service and leisure facilities.

Finding common ground

Although aimed at different target audiences, both the build to rent and retirement living sectors have relatively similar goals and offerings. Aiming to provide high-quality housing that people aspire to live in, there may be lessons that each can learn from the other.

It is not uncommon for both build to rent and retirement living complexes to provide a range of facilities and leisure offerings to residents, from gyms and swimming pools to cinemas and games rooms. By providing access to onsite care and health facilities, as well as leisure facilities, build to rent complexes could open themselves up to a wider, multi-generational demographic of residents with inclusivity at the core.

Building a community

The benefits of a multi-generational approach are clear for residents. Older people often gain a new lease of life when interacting with those younger than them, and a mixed-generation complex will facilitate those interactions.

Fostering a sense of energy amongst residents, those that have retired will want to keep up rather than slow down. However, any healthcare needs can still be met, with the same high-quality care services they’d receive in a traditional retirement home setting provided, alongside other amenities such as security or concierge services which can make life more secure and easier.

By building a complex that caters to all generations, developers can foster a diverse community, ultimately benefiting residents of any age.

Commercial advantages

There are also a number of commercial benefits to the collaboration of the two sectors. These are:

  • Potential for growth – by catering to more people, there is a higher likelihood of financial growth and income security.
  • Streamlined planning – having a multi-generational community means developers don’t have to ask for two separate planning permissions (one for traditional renting and one for retirement housing).
  • More accessible design – by thinking beyond a specific target audience, developers can attract more people through improved inclusivity and, as a result, achieve longer-lasting desirability. Examples of accessible design include wider door frames, ramps and lifts.

With both sectors ultimately having the same goal, build to rent and retirement living developers should look at how they can more closely collaborate in future. From direct financial gains to building a thriving and inclusive community, the two sectors can create homes that everyone wants to live in if they work together.

Download and watch our free webinar, where we explore the fundamental similarities and challenges across the build to rent and retirement living both markets.

We’re here to help

If you’re planning a new development or looking to develop an existing complex, our dedicated later living team can support you - contact Louise Drew for guidance and advice.

Our updated guide to recovery and resilience covers everything you need to navigate your way out of lockdown, unlock your potential and make way for a brighter future. Further advice in relation to COVID-19 can be found on our dedicated coronavirus resource hub.  

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White Paper

Retirement housing: from last resort to aspirational living

Research developed by our later living specialists has uncovered a gap between public perception around the retirement housing sector and the reality of what service and provisions are provided. But what’s causing this disconnect?

Our report, Retirement Housing White Paper, highlights a lack of understanding about the services offered by retirement housing schemes, and in turn, a growing raft of misconceptions among the public. Although, later living schemes play an essential role in our society, our report notes that people are often unaware of their benefits. Until these are recognised, retirement housing will continue to be seen as a last resort made out of necessity, rather than something to aspire to.

In order to tackle these issues, we must first demystify the sector. Our research sets out to do this, putting a spotlight on the sector’s main pain points, as well as actionable solutions and next steps. So, where to start and what needs to be overcome for the sector to strive?

On a quest for clarity

After surveying 2,000 UK adults and 100 representatives from retirement housing providers, we found that one third of the public believe retirement housing schemes are synonymous with ‘old people’s homes’. Many also thought that only the ‘lonely, single older person with health issues’ would benefit from these schemes. These common misconceptions are something that the sector must overcome if it is to move forward successfully.

Through our research we discovered that the main hurdles include:

 

  • A lack of awareness – People were unaware of the benefits of retirement housing schemes, such as on-site fitness and leisure facilities and guest rooms, with 78% of the providers surveyed offering additional accommodation for visits.
  • Misconceptions about fees – Only 28% of people believed these schemes offered good value for money, naming hidden fees as the number one cause of their wariness.
  • Terms such as ‘care homes’ or ‘old people homes’ – These terms have negative connotations and are not representative of many retirement housing schemes, yet they are commonly used.
  • Ageism in the sector – Much of the sector has historically relied on ‘dependency models’ to attract new residents. By using labels such as ‘older people’, this perpetuates the misconception that these schemes are a last resort.
The power of positive communication

Fighting misconceptions head-on is a vital step for the sector. Educating the public and key stakeholders including local councils and planning teams by using real-life examples and case studies, positive and appropriate imagery, factual summaries focusing on NHS and Local Authority cost savings made from such specialist housing provision and reports such as ours that highlight the many benefits of this sector from an economic and social standpoint, will bring retirement housing into the public eye for all the right reasons.

Improving public understanding

To bridge the gap between perception and reality, the sector can:

 

  • Start ‘open door’ schemes – Retirement housing schemes shouldn’t be afraid to show off. Allowing people to view the space in person can instantly disprove any myths regarding old-fashioned facilities and décor.
  • Highlight the benefits – Instead of focusing on who the schemes are for, promote their benefits, making them an aspirational lifestyle choice, rather than one of necessity.
  • Be more cost-transparent – From service charges to upkeep costs, potential residents worry they won’t be able to afford the lifestyle they desire. Providing clear breakdowns of costs will put people’s minds at ease and show that these schemes are more affordable than many think.
  • Clarify services – People want to know what they’re signing up for. Providing detailed information on the services offered will help people who are looking at retirement housing to take the next step.
  • Pay attention to the language used – Move away from negative, potentially ageist terms and shift towards positive descriptions that reflect people’s wishes rather than worries.
  • Move to the digital realm – Digital literacy is rising and moving with the times will capture a wider audience. It will also make information more easily accessible.

Retirement housing schemes will always have an important role in UK society, providing safe and secure residence to those who need it, not to mention the benefits from a new, supportive community. However, our report has shown that to move away from unwanted stereotypes and to appeal to a new type of consumer, the sector must update its image. By improving the public’s understanding through marketing and education, later living schemes can be transformed into aspirational places to live.

Download a copy of our retirement housing white paper

We’re here to help

Whether you’re an established provider, a new market entrant, or a developer looking to diversify, we’re here to support you. Contact Louise Drew to find out how our dedicated later living team can help.

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Shakespeare Martineau supports STOPageism campaign

Shakespeare Martineau is the first law firm to show support for the STOPageism campaign, founded by Guild Living, being one of the first 40 organisations to join the initiative launched in September 2020.

The campaign looks to take positive steps to stop ageism in society, bringing older people back into the heart of communities, improve the lives of older people and change the way society views ageing.

Campaigners at STOPageism said: “Ageism negatively affects all of us. The recent coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on the shocking way that our society and policymakers treat older people. Pushed to the margins and forgotten about, with their needs often thought of last – we have all seen the tragic consequences that this can have.

“More broadly – from derogatory everyday language, to inaccessible cities and poor services – ageism is sadly still a daily reality for many people.”

The campaign is focused on three key areas:

1. Changing language

2. Changing cities

3. Changing services

“We will make cities more accessible and age-friendly. From retrofitting existing buildings to encouraging architects and planners to be more age considerate in future builds, we want our cities to promote independence and inclusivity for all.

“We will promote safety and independence by making services such as financial and technology services easier, safer and fairer to use. People need more confidence and support to take control of their affairs, and we’ll help to provide it.”

Head of Building Communities Louise Drew said: “Our work with social housing, extra care villages, retirement housing and affordable housing providers makes this a campaign close to our hearts. Ensuring inclusivity and accessibility for all is absolutely critical and our specialist planning teams and legal experts are working with clients to improve the future-proofing of new developments and promote independence. We look forward to being part of the STOPageism journey and seeing positive steps we can all make together.

For more information about the campaign, visit www.stopageism.org

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Guides & Advice

The environmental and social benefits of village life in retirement | Later living

Initially planned for March 2020, the Housing LIN Summit took place virtually over five days in December (7-11 December 2020), with over 700 delegates celebrating outstanding innovation, leading practice developments and sector thought-leadership from the last year.

As part of the week-long conference, our head of building communities, Louise Drew, delivered a session on ‘village life: later life living to the full’, collaborating with Wendy Griffin, Main Board Director at Nicol Thomas and Shirley Hall, Head of Innovation and Wellbeing at ExtraCare Charitable Trust to look at the environmental and social benefits of village life in retirement, particular with COVID-19 in mind.

You can view the full recording of this session below or here.

Here we provide a summary of the main points covered during the session.

What does the later living market look like?

Research shows that nearly 17% (22 million) of the UK’s population are aged 65 or over, with this number expected to rise by an additional 8.6 million in the next 50 years – this means by 2035, around a quarter of the population will be 65 years old or over.

In January 2019 we conducted one of the most comprehensive survey exercises in the UK’s later living sector, surveying over 200 respondents from a variety of backgrounds including local authorities, registered providers, private developers, care operators and businesses in the charity and voluntary sector, as well as architects and designers.

Download a free copy of our insights report.

What has changed in the last 18 months?

With regards to planning there hasn’t been any substantial change - local authorities are still divided in their interpretation of the correct Class type for later living accommodation and there’s been no government narrative for building housing for the older generation.

Listen more to Louise’s reflections over the past 18 months.

The care sector has been hit hard by COVID-19 over the last 10 months, with the occupancy by many vulnerable people all living under one roof in a care home causing the virus to spread alarmingly quickly. Read more about how multi-generational living could help support the care industry moving forward.

The pandemic has also meant later living accommodation providers have become more reliant on digital technology. Our webinar on the role of technology in the later living sector gives an overview of data protection considerations and compliance rules on data.

We’re here to support you

We have seen the benefits that secure and well-built retirement living accommodation can bring, with a reduced impact on health from loneliness and keeping deaths to a minimum. The UK is currently lagging behind when it comes to developing and improving later living accommodation, but we want to change that.

We have one of the biggest real estate teams dedicated to later living outside London and have supported the delivery of a wide range of national schemes targeting the over 55s.

From getting the most out of your plot of land to securing finance and managing sales or leasing arrangements, our specialist later living team is here to support you, every step of the way. For advice, guidance and support contact Louise Drew.

From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.

Our free legal helpline offers bespoke guidance on a range of subjects, from employment and general business matters through to director’s responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring, funding and disputes. We also have a team of experts on hand for any queries on family and private matters too. Available from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, call 0800 689 4064.

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Client

Law firm appointed to social housing legal panel

Law firm, Shakespeare Martineau, has won a competitive tender to join The Regenda Group’s legal panel framework.

The national firm has secured the opportunity to provide legal support to the North West-based housing group for four years and will be advising on a range of topics from housing management and property, to development and construction.

The Shakespeare Martineau team consists of experts from varied legal backgrounds, including housing management, litigation, social housing and later living. Planning and development support will also be provided by Marrons Planning, a specialist planning consultancy and part of the firm.

With the goal of promoting a healthy, safe, prosperous and sustainable community, the Regenda Group portfolio includes 13,000 units across the North West, and comprises social rented housing, housing for older people, supported housing, private rented property, shared ownership and housing for sale.

Rachel Gwynne, head of social housing at law firm, Shakespeare Martineau, said: “The affordable housing sector is experiencing extraordinary challenges, from the pandemic and climbing unemployment rates to global issues like Brexit and climate change, all while the demand for social housing keeps growing.

“In more ways than one, it’s incredibly rewarding to be working with Regenda, as they continue to support communities in the North West.”

Julie Vincent, director of business assurance at The Regenda Group, said: “We‘re very much looking forward to working with Shakespeare Martineau. Their team has a deep understanding of the issues facing our sector and are excellently-placed to help us navigate challenges, seize opportunities and provide the best service to our customers.”

Contact us

To see how our team of experts can help create a more sustainable future for your organisation, as well as the wider community, contact a member of our social housing team. 

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Agriculture: diversifying or leasing your land to create habitat banks

6 Jul

Peter Snodgrass, Partner & Head of Agriculture
Agriculture: diversifying or leasing your land to create habitat banks

We know that biodiversity net gains provide a significant opportunity for landowners to diversify […]

Teachers’ Pension Scheme – strategic issues independent schools need to think about

20 Jul

Esther Maxwell, Legal Director | Emma Glazzard, Solicitor
Teachers’ Pension Scheme – strategic issues independent schools need to think about

Webinar Teachers’ Pension Scheme – strategic issues independent schools need to think about In […]

Misconduct outside the workplace and business disrepute

8 Sep

Michael Hibbs, Partner
Misconduct outside the workplace and business disrepute

In this webinar, Mike Hibbs – Partner and Robin Gronbech - Solicitor in our […]

Preparing for business exit and beyond

24 Jun

Jody Webb, Partner
Preparing for business exit and beyond

When your business has been your life, how do you separate the emotional investment […]

Our Latest Thoughts

All the latest views and insights on current topics.

Abbey Healthcare (Mill Hill) Ltd v Simply Construct (UK) Llp

29 Jun

Real Estate & Planning

Abbey Healthcare (Mill Hill) Ltd v Simply Construct (UK) Llp

Read article Right Arrow

Don’t waste money on space you don’t use! Re-gear

29 Jun

Real Estate & Planning

Don’t waste money on space you don’t use! Re-gear

Read article Right Arrow

The Building Safety Act 2022 – how it will affect house builders

19 May

Real Estate & Planning

The Building Safety Act 2022 – how it will affect house builders

Read article Right Arrow

Biodiversity Net Gain – opportunities and obligations for developers and landowners alike

11 Apr

Real Estate & Planning

Biodiversity Net Gain – opportunities and obligations for developers and landowners alike

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The rationale for rationalising housing stock – post-pandemic

8 Apr

Real Estate & Planning

The rationale for rationalising housing stock – post-pandemic

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Contrastingly, there are a lot of people desperate for affordable and suitable accommodation. Intergenerational living could be the answer to both problems.

Our partner in the social housing team, Gary Ekpenyoung, discusses the intergenerational living model and the benefits it holds:

Homeshare is an intergenerational living model that has established itself as an alternative to residential care and home visits. An agreement is made between an older person and another party, that gives the latter rent-free accommodation as long as the former is provided with companionship and support.

Loneliness, and the mental health issues associated with it, puts a large amount of strain on the NHS. The Homeshare approach could lessen this strain, through reducing loneliness and isolation, and allowing people to stay out of residential care for longer.

There is also no need for concerns surrounding the generational gap, as an interviewing and vetting process matches people based on personality, so that the relationship is mutually beneficial.

Almost 500 UK households are now embracing intergenerational living, but the Tenant Fees Act 2019, which received Royal Assent on 12 February 2019 could potentially cause a few hurdles. The legislation stops lettings agents charging excessive fees to their tenants, a positive goal, but one that could put Homeshare agreements in danger, as money is exchanged to cover admin and matching costs. This could lead to income drying up for Homeshare UK – part of Shared Lives Plus – the network managers for Homeshare.

Thankfully, Homeshare has secured Government support and recent amendments to the Tenant Fees Act have limited the impact of the Act on Homeshare schemes.

The combination of an aging population and ever-increasing rental costs has brought the value of Homeshare to the forefront. Intergenerational living is a solution to a multi-generational problem.

Of the changes proposed in the NPPF consultation draft, the following three are of particular significance:

Affordable housing

The big shift here is a clear push towards housing for sale rather than rent. The definitions of “Social rented housing” and “Affordable rented housing” have gone to be replaced by “Affordable housing for rent”. Similarly, where previously it was stipulated that “low cost market housing may not be considered as affordable housing for planning purposes” now “Starter homes” and “Discounted market sales housing” are not just included, but separately defined. Similarly, the catch all description of “Other affordable routes to home ownership” includes “shared ownership, relevant equity loans, other low cost homes for sale and rent to buy”.

What does this mean?

Whilst this is reflective of government policy in the Osbourne and Cameron years, and I suspect will be welcomed by developers, the shift away from affordable rental properties to starter homes is unlikely to provide comfort for those people currently without the means to afford to buy a property reliant on diminishing supplies of social rented housing. It also represents a challenge to existing registered providers who face the prospect of fewer rental properties being provided by major housebuilders.

Deliverable

Under the proposed changes, to be considered, deliverable sites “should be available now, offer a suitable location for development now, and be achievable with a realistic prospect that housing will be delivered on the site within five years” which echoes the old footnote 11.

However, the new definition continues that “Small sites, and sites with detailed planning permission, should be considered deliverable until permission expires unless there is clear evidence that homes will not be delivered within five years…” This represents a subtle shift in the old footnote 11, because it specifically refers to small sites and sites with detailed planning permission rather than “sites with planning permission”.

The new definition then proceeds to state that “Sites with outline planning permission, permission in principle, allocated in the development plan or identified on a brownfield register should only be considered deliverable where there is clear evidence that housing completions will begin on site within five years.”

What does this mean?

This appears to change the position set out by the Court of Appeal in St Modwen Developments Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and means that local authorities will no longer be able to automatically conclude that sites with an outline permission are “deliverable”. I suspect this will mean there are a few local authorities who suddenly find they no longer have a five year housing land supply.

Planning obligation

The proposed change to the definition of “planning obligation” removes the reference to a “legally enforceable obligation” and instead replaces it with a “legal agreement”.

What does this mean?

Whilst both definitions continue to refer to section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the express reference to “agreement” would appear to exclude the use of unilateral undertakings, which runs contrary to the express wording of section 106 (1). This muddies the waters as to whether local planning authorities can and should seek unilateral undertakings as a means to secure mitigation for development.

What should you be doing now?

It is, of course, important to remember that the document is currently out for consultation, and therefore the definitions may yet change.

If you are likely to be affected by the proposed measures then I’d strongly encourage you to engage with the consultation process. The consultation closes at 23.45 on 10 May 2018 and can be accessed here.