LETTER OF THE DAY: Housing - more needs to be done

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This week the chancellor will say that there isn’t much money for more housing, social care and the NHS.

But If the government tackled offshore tax avoidance that would not be the case.

Surely it is time for major investment in housing for all ages – young first-time buyers, social housing for families in temporary accommodation and seniors who need specialist residential facilities?

Doesn’t it seem ridiculous that local councils like Portsmouth can invest millions of pounds in commercial properties (in some cases miles from the city) and yet are restricted in funding housing development?

We need houses and flats for young and old and the removal of the cap on local councils ability to borrow for housing investment would achieve this aim

And local councils also need their government grants to be restored to enable them to pay for residential and home care.

Not only would those in need in their later lives benefit but also their families, who worry about them.

Then there is education. Schools need more funds and not just academies and free schools.

Universities seem to have plenty of resources – shouldn’t they be asked to expand their outreach services to assist those who didn’t get a chance to go to college and/or are struggling at school? Older people are grateful they will receive a three per cent rise in their pensions this year, but don’t forget that they have received little return from their savings in recent years.

Maybe there is a case for means-testing the winter fuel allowance and making those older people in work to pay national insurance, but only if the funds released were to be spent on housing, health, social care and schools.

Dr Alan Burnett

Chairman, Portsmouth Pensioners’ Association

Sussex Road, Southsea