Cost of living: Conservative MP says people could 'incentivise granny annexes' to save money

·3 min read

A Conservative MP has suggested people could "incentivise granny annexes" to save money amid the cost of living crisis.

Speaking in the Queen's Speech debate on making Britain the best place to grow up and grow old, former minister Jackie Doyle-Price said the government should be "encouraging people to make better use of their housing asset for the whole of their family".

She told MPs: "We can incentivise granny annexes, we can make sure that young people have got some hope by having greater access to the wealth in their parents' home.

"And I tell you, if we can do that, we will actually save money in the health service because unnecessary hospital stays are much more expensive than dealing with the little inheritance tax problem, which might unlock some investment."

Granny annexes are traditionally a portion of a house sectioned off from the rest, with a self-contained living area including a kitchen and bathroom. They may also be separate from the house and built in the garden.

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Earlier today, a government minister suggested that people struggling with the cost of living could take on more hours or move to a better-paid job.

Rachel Maclean, the safeguarding minister, told Sky News' Kay Burley that every minister was looking at the issue as consumers face "short term pressures" such as high energy and food bills - and said there was "more help coming".

But she added: "Over the long term we need to have a plan to grow the economy and make sure that people are able to protect themselves better - whether that is by taking on more hours or moving to a better paid job and these are long term actions, but that's what we're focused on as a government."

Downing Street defended her after opposition parties sharply criticised the comments.

Ms Maclean's promise of "more help" echoed a hint made by Boris Johnson last week about more cost of living support - though this was swiftly followed by the Treasury making clear that there would be no emergency budget.

In February the chancellor announced that most households would be given a £150 council tax discount, while consumers would also be given £200 to help with energy bills this autumn, to be repaid over five years.

Speaking in the Commons later on Monday, Ms Doyle-Price stressed that "for the last 10 years we have been obsessing about how we pay for social care without actually properly looking at how we actually design a system of social care, which is fit for purpose".

The MP for Thurrock added: "The challenge is that we are all living longer, and we haven't revisited our systems and our policies to actually address that. We need a life course approach to our housing. We know that falls are the biggest source of elderly ill health. So, why are we not doing more to incentivise people to have an approach to how they live, which suits their new length of life?

"You know, we also need to make sure that we are giving hope to younger people that they can actually buy their own home. And this is where the two policies come together. We look at policies in too much of a silo."

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