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Harry’s Pledge members and supporters have joined together to call for a change in the law around accessible housing.

Members of our steering group have made a joint submission that urges the Government to introduce the M4 Category 2 – similar to the Lifetime Homes Standard – as the regulatory baseline standard for all new homes in England.

Among those organisations to have contributed to the submission includes Longhurst Group, Habinteg, the National Housing Federation and the Chartered Institute of Housing.

The call comes in response to a Government-led consultation on improving the accessibility standards for new homes.

It follows the latest English Housing Survey, released in July, which found that 400,000 disabled adults live in homes that are neither accessible nor adapted, underlining why the commitment we’ve asked the housing sector to make is so important.

Nic Bungay, director of strategy and external affairs at Habinteg, said: “The proportion of older people is growing rapidly and with that, the number of disabled people. Yet last year, our research saw over half of local plans had no requirement for accessible homes to be built in their area.

“If we fail to get this right now, we’ll be storing up a whole new kind of housing crisis for the future.

“As well as increasing people’s independence and well-being, building to an accessible and adaptable standard from the outset is extremely cost-effective.

“Compared to the high potential cost to public budgets when major adaptations or residential care are the only alternatives, raising the basic access requirements for all new homes on a national basis has to be the sensible strategic approach.”

Longhurst Group’s Chief Executive, Julie Doyle added: “I’m incredibly passionate about the need for accessibility to be designed-in to the homes we provide.

“I think it’s incumbent on us to look at the design of our properties and take long-term, lifelong accessibility into account, both in the new-build homes we provide and our current stock.

“It is the sensible thing to do but, more importantly, with an aging population and consequently more people needing this kind of support, it’s the right thing to do as well.

“That’s why I’m delighted that we’re part of this joint submission alongside other supporters of Harry’s Pledge.”