Equity release 'viable, realistic tool' for financing retirement, says SHIP

06 April 2009 / by Rachael Stiles

SHIP (Safe Home Income Plans) has welcomed the parliamentary debate on the issue of equity release and urges the Government to see it as "a viable, realistic tool for financing retirement."

Andrea Rozario, director general of SHIP, the equity release trade body, said: "We are delighted to see Parliament really engaging with retirement financing issues."

She said that Baroness Patricia Hollis' call in the House of Lords last week for clear advice about equity release also emphasises the need for the Government to take equity release seriously.

"The UK's rapidly ageing population means that the government is facing a retirement financing crisis," Ms Rozario said, warning that "without innovative solutions such as equity release, there will simply not be enough money to care for the elderly."

Taking into account the recent downturn in the property market, retired people currently have in the region of £841billion of equity locked in their homes, according to SHIP's figures – money which could be used to help fund retirement – but only £1.2billion of equity is being released each year.

"Equity release is already a safe and well regulated proces," Ms Rozario continued. "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."

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