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Rural Services Network

Older people 'suffer' from poor services

OLDER rural people suffer from poor public services – as well as a lack of affordable housing, MPs have warned.

It comes as the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Housing and Care for Older People launches an inquiry into housing for older people in rural communities.

APPG co-chairman Lord Best announced the new inquiry, Rural Housing for an Ageing Population: Policy Initiatives, on Wednesday (5 July).

The nation's villages are getting older every year, as young people and families leave and the proportion of older people increases.

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.

It will consider recommendations to ensure older RURAL people can enjoy appropriate housing and access adequate care and support at home.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, Lord Best and fellow co-chairman Peter Aldous MP said: "Housing problems in many rural areas are at a critical level.

"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.

"We would be delighted to hear from anyone with views on this urgent issue."

Sue Chalkley, chief executive of the Hastoe Group, which is sponsoring the inquiry, said "joined-up thinking" could 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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