Response to the article ‘The elderly ‘should be taxed out of their homes’’ (Daily Mail, Oct 20).
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associate at Pagan Osborne and Member of Solicitors for the Elderly, writes:
I have to say, this level of social engineering is not, in my opinion, the way to ensure people are living happy, healthy and comfortable lives. A home is about far more than bricks and mortar and no-one should be made to feel they have a sell-by date.
We must remember that most elderly people will have worked hard to buy their home and may have been settled for a number of years. When you consider people with dementia, often familiar faces and places can make a real difference, forcing people to move could have a very detrimental effect on their standard and quality of life
The recession had an undoubted effect on the young generation in terms of home ownership. However, older people have lived through similar downturns and it would be unfair penalise them again.
Although the building sector was hit, there are hundreds of new-build developments with vacant properties and half-built developments. It is difficult for first-time buyers to get on the ladder due to mortgage availability. There is potentially a plentiful supply of housing without making older people feel like they need to give up their homes.
Older people already face factors which may make them decide to downsize, whether that be the costs of running the home, care options or council tax. To add to that does not seem fair.
Society has changed and will continue to change and we need to be innovative. However, we need to ensure these innovative solutions are fair for all. If we want fairness for all generations, then penalising one to help the other surely isn’t the way to do it.
Associate, Pagan Osborne and Member of Solicitors for the Elderly
Queen Street, Edinburgh