SHIP comments on Parliament's equity release debate

"We are delighted to see Parliament really engaging with retirement financing issues. Baroness Hollis' question today emphasised the need for the government to consider equity release as a viable, realistic tool for financing retirement. We were very pleased with the positive response that the question gathered.

"The UK's rapidly ageing population means that the government is facing a retirement financing crisis. Without innovative solutions such as equity release, there will simply not be enough money to care for the elderly. The amount of housing equity amongst retired people (even allowing for the recent downturn) is of the order of £841 billion. But the amount of equity released is running at only circa £1.2 billion per annum - a very small percentage of the equity in place.

"Equity release is already a safe and well regulated process. Baroness Hollis has called for clear advice from local authorities on the issue in order to spread the idea of what she calls "the attractive and graceful alternative to residential care." What is now needed from the government is clarification that pensioners who take up equity release will not be ‘punished' through any withdrawal of their pension credits."