25 English councils are to be given another £80 million between now and 2010 for additional Extra Care Housing developments. At an amazingly low average capital cost of £39,312 per dwelling, we shouldn’t complain, but it doesn’t quite square with the statement in the press release notes that the new accommodation will “demonstrate commitment to ensuring the dignity of their residents offering choice and putting personalisation high on their agenda making use of Telecare [sic], telehealth and other assistive technology to support residents to live independently in their own homes”. DH press release.
Even at these costs, are these bricks-and-mortar ‘solutions’ to a few people’s problems the right way to go? If you want to delve deeper, read the scheme’s bidding criteria.
For contrast, think what could be done if the funds identified in this item from the Daily Express – about the £3.6 billion a year in pension top-up tax credits that older people fail to claim each year – were actually being spent by those people to help themselves stay independent.
By the way, I can guess what the “successful Barnsley extra care housing scheme” is going to do with its cheque for £3.8 million, but what is it going to do with the 73 year-old Sir Michael Parkinson who, according to the sloppily written first paragraph of the DH press release, comes with it?