Scotland’s glaring 50k Housing-with-Care supply gap highlighted by new report

Scottish Housing-with-Care Task Force urges swift Government action to meet shortfall


Scotland’s glaring 50k housing-with-care supply gap highlighted by new report

--Scottish Housing-with-Care Task Force urges swift Government action to meet shortfall--

Scotland faces a stark and worrying gap of 50,000 homes in housing-with-care, according to a new report from the Scottish Housing-with-Care Task Force which urges swift Government action to meet the shortfall.

With the country’s over-65 population set to rise by 28% by 2036, and reach almost 1.4 million, there are currently only 3,782 housing-with-care units – homes which provide older people with an independent lifestyle alongside 24/7 onsite staffing, social care if needed, and communal services and facilities.

Housing-with-care sits inbetween traditional retirement housing and nursing homes (which are declining in number), and is seen as key to the future of support for older people, helping to cut delayed hospital discharges, and tackling Scotland’s loneliness crisis – with 100,000 older people lonely all or most of the time.

The new report by ARCO (Associated Retirement Community Operators) and Sovereign Property Partnership, who together have brought the Housing-with-Care Task Force of experts together, says the Housing-with-Care supply gap is getting worse, despite the increasing need.

Just 0.48% of over-65s in Scotland currently have the opportunity to live in Housing-with-Care, compared to at least 5-6% in countries like New Zealand, Australia and the US, and over 4,200 new properties need to be built each year in Scotland to catch up by 2036.

Achieving this requires action on three key areas, says the report:

  • Law: for example, giving housing-with-care residents the same rights and consumer protections as in New Zealand
  • Planning: creating a new planning use class for housing-with-care, setting targets for new Housing-with-Care homes, and enabling Housing-with-Care operators to compete better with mainstream housebuilders
  • Social care integration: considering health and social care needs more fully in the planning and delivery stages of development

The Task Force draws inspiration from the campaign led by ARCO for a UK-wide Task Force to transform housing and care options for older people – which the Government later committed to in its Levelling Up White Paper.

Gareth Lyon, Director of Policy and Communications at ARCO, said:

“Scotland’s Housing-with-Care supply gap is stark, and is only set to get worse unless we see swift Government action to back the sector.

“Improving the health and wellbeing of our ageing population, and tackling the loneliness crisis, are among the great challenges of our time, and Housing-with-Care has got to a critical role to play in meeting these.

“We urge the Scottish Government to act quickly on our calls for change on legal issues, planning and social care integration – for the benefit of older people across the country.”


Andrew Fyfe, Chair of The Scottish Housing With Care Task Force, said:

“It is amazing and worrying in equal measure to think that we currently provide only 3,800 homes in Housing-with-Care for an older population that is set to grow to 1.4 million by 2036.

“Tackling this supply gap has got to become a key priority for the Scottish Government, so that delayed hospital discharges are reduced, so that loneliness and isolation is tackled, ultimately, so that older people can live healthier, happier lives.

“We do not have long to meet this urgent challenge – the Scottish Government must act now.”


Paul McLennan MSP who participated in the Task Force and hosted an event at the Scottish Parliament said:

“We talk a lot about the challenges of an ageing population but we also have to acknowledge there are opportunities.  As we all age, we need to think more longer term about what we will need to thrive into our elderhood.  Housing is a critical part of that consideration.  If you are unable to access local services or socialise as much as you wish because you aren’t managing to get out and about as easily, or you are finding things challenging financially because your home is too large to heat etc, then our old age becomes challenging.  However, across the country different housing options are starting to be developed that enable some older people to live vibrant independent lives because the property is better suited to their needs.  There is a prime opportunity to consider the market around housing suitable for older people and I’m delighted to host this event that will contribute greatly to the serious discussion we need to have.”


Paul Harries, Executive Chairman of LifeCare Residences said:

“LifeCare has over 30 years experience operating Housing-with-Care communities in New Zealand, and more recently in Australia and England.  

New Zealand has a similar population to Scotland, and currently has just under 50,000 people living in Housing-with-Care communities, which is expected to increase to nearly 70,000 by 2028.  Additionally, Housing-with-Care communities now provide 50% of care home facilities in New Zealand.

We urge the Scottish Government to look at the interaction between housing and health and social care, and support the relatively minor changes to the legal and planning framework that are needed to help the provision of Housing-with-Care communities in Scotland to grow.”




For further information please contact: Gareth Lyon, Director of Policy and Communications, at or on 07535 088498


- Notes for Editors-

The full report can be found here:

What are Integrated Retirement Communities?

Integrated Retirement Communities, otherwise known as Housing-with-Care, offer older people the opportunity to live independently in their own home as part of a wider community. Lifestyle, wellbeing and care services are available to support people’s independence and aspirations. Integrated Retirement Communities are run by a range of not-for-profit and private operators, with two-thirds of the sector being affordable or social rent. 

How are these communities integrated?

Apartment homes are available for purchase, part purchase or rent, alongside a range of choices:

  • Integrated Lifestyle: Facilities like restaurants, bars, gyms, cinemas, community halls and gardens offer optional activities and social opportunities
  • Integrated Well-being and Care: Personal and domestic care can be delivered within people’s homes if they wish.  Dedicated staff teams are on site 24/7
  • Integrated with Wider Communities: Connections with wider communities through family, friends, intergenerational, volunteering or leisure opportunities are valued and cherished

Associated Retirement Communities Operators (ARCO) is the main body supporting Integrated Retirement Communities across the UK, setting standards for the sector, and representing the interests of consumers and providers at national level.