One of today's leading news stories focuses on the call of new group; The Intergenerational Foundation, for tax breaks to encourage older people to downsize and help free up family-size houses.


It is estimated there are 25 million unused bedrooms in England, and this charity say that while many people are living longer and staying in what was once their family home, younger families are being squeezed into smaller properties.


The group doesn't seem to want older people to be forced to move, but many people reading the article (see the 380 comments!) have highlighted the sentiment seems to imply that remaining in a house larger than you require is selfish.


To read the full story click here.


What do you think?

Is it selfish for people to continue living in big family houses with multiple bedrooms going unused?

Or is a home more than just walls and rooms?

Would tax breaks encourage you to downsize?


Very interesting debates going on around this!


Tags: MfOPdisc, housing

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"Must the old be held responsible for everything that's going wrong with the world?" - Former champion for older people Joan Bakewell gave her response to the suggestions made by the Intergenerational Foundation.  Read this article from the Independent to see what she had to say, check out the numerous comments for a range of opinions.

If Governments would concentrate on building suitable housing for those who want to downsize, and it's not just the 60+ group, then we wouldn't have a problem. Many people live alone in properties which have more than 1 bedroom not just the 60+ers why aren't they mentioned?  This country has an attitude problem towards anyone over 60 or who looks over 60. There is a lack of respect from the younger ages. Age is depicted as something to fear, avoid and resist - something you have to fight, fix your skin, your hair, your teeth otherwise you will look OLD!!! This is largely a con, put about by those seeking to make money by filling us with fear depicting the way we ought to look and dress in order to be acceptable....what a lot of absolute rubbish.  We need to resist this brainwashing. But it needs to start with the young who need to be seeing positive images of 60+ers on TV, in magazines, in films, in theatre, reading the news, the sport, the weather everywhere.  The image of the 'grandparent' needs to be positive and encouraged. In these days of many single parent families some children may not have the close special bonds with grandparents. Why not start a scheme between infant/primary schools and 60+ers. The children would gain so much.

There needs to be a proper balance in the media it is so one sided at present. Age is protrayed as something to be ashamed of...we lock our seniors away in large impersonal buildings (care homes) and they are rarely seen outside in the community, and when they do venture out they are barely tolerated by the rest of people.  Britain needs to feel ashamed, but I fear shame is not something that is understood especially when such a poor example is set by government indidivuals who think 'sorry' is good enough, I doubt that the person in the street would get away with as much by just saying 'sorry'.........

I'll get off my soap box now...


good luck with this project we certainly need an attitude change.



1st and formost you have to under stand that probably that old person who is hogging a multtie bed house has probably lived there most of their married life and put a lot of TLC in to it, WHY should they move?WE have all struggled to get what we have now It's so unfare to do this most of the familys who wan't you'r home would wreck it within 6 months, I have a prime exsample next door to me ,The old lady lived there from 1944 and passed away about two yrs ago she had gardeners in and looked after the place spent a lot of money one way or another to keep it nice ,if you could see it now ! 15 ft conifers ,grass is only cut were the kids play the rest is knee high,garage is falling to bits,O!it gos on and on .NO is the answear.

An analogy :


I chose to rent, and invest in shares. 25 years later, my shares are worth the value of a 4 bedroom house.

Would anybody be likely to suggest that I 'downsize' my portfolio ?


Another :


My great grandfather managed to buy a modest terraced house.

He bequeathed it to his eldest son - my grandfather - who used it as a deposit on something slightly bigger. He did this twice, then bequeathed it to my father.

My father extended it, then sold it to buy a better place. He did this 3 times, then bequeathed it to me.

I have lived here for 58 years, I've upgraded the plumbing and wiring whilst my children grew up, landscaped the garden, added a barbeque patio and a conservatory. I considered downsizing when the last of the children left, 15 years ago, but was assured that bricks and mortar were my best bets for the future.


Looking at either of those scenarios, I wouldn't consider myself selfish at all. With regard to the second scenario, 2 words - "Blenheim Palace" . . .



Well said....Ian.

I don't think it's selfish at all. For some people, leaving their home could cause immeasurable damage and heartbreak. And why should they leave? As for myself, I've moved around so much that a house is just bricks and mortar for me and I could downsize with no problems BUT I would hate to move to an area which wasn't as nice as the one I live in now.

I believe that when this country's royal family decide that they are going to share their accommodation, then the general population will be more amenable. After all, they are meant to be our ambassadors, and set examples for the rest of us.

There are far too many selfish people in the world already, but I don't accept that pensioners who stay in their family homes are amongst their number.

I could not agree more.


What Britain needs is a universial social housing policy.  End of story.

Well put. 

It was Thatcher who stopped building council houses in the 80's, and the New Labour Governmnt did nothing fundamental to reverse this decline in council houses.  It was Thatcher who allowed people to buy their council houses at knock down prices, and this was an opportunist politicy to gain votes, and it worked, and even now we are still under the grip of Thatchers unbridled, exploitive free market

The two people below may or may not be aware of the politics behind the lack of council housing in this country, because far to many British people are simply not politically minded.

And their responses, are just plain silly, their's is a knee jerk reaction to a serious housing shortage.

And as far as Royalty is concerned, they are merely a hallmark of the class system that equally plagues Britain.

Well if thats the case, why don't we start with the Queen, Buck house is rather large isn't it for two somewhat elderly people,   think of the number of young families we could squeeze into there?..and thats not even thinking about all the castles spotted around here and there...... and then there is Charles and Cammila?.....and the rest of the royal entourage.... and what about all these second homes that the MP's have been claiming for?....

Exactly, Frances! I do agree. Buckingham Palace could house hundreds of homeless people. And the rest of the residences could house hundreds more. The royals could then all move in together, and still have enough room to rattle around in. The MPs second homes could be utilised too. And all of these places are in nice spots, too. It's not just that these people actually own/live in residences that are far too large but that many of them are left empty for a good part of the year. And after all, we ARE all just human beings. It does seem ludicrous that some should have everything, when so many have nothing.

Marylin Shipley, Do you really believe that yours, and the above comments, are the real answer to social housing, now and in the future for people ?

I am not a great fan of the Royal Family, but your posting is absurd Frances Andrew - Speed.


If you ask me why, I will gladly tell you, that you should already know.


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