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As revealed by freedom of information requests from The News, Portsmouth City Council has spent more than £1 million making homes in Portsmouth accessible for disabled people compared to a decade ago.

The council says that this increase in spending on Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG) is due to the ageing population and more people wanting to remain independent in their own homes.

Portsmouth City Council spent £1,409,966 last year on DFGs, compared to £312,254 in 2008 – a rise of 352 percent. The freedom of information requests also revealed a rise in demand for housing adaptations from 50 applications in 2008 to 179 applications in 2018.

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Clare Hardwick, Portsmouth City Council’s head of private sector housing, explained to The News why the council’s DFG spending had increased.

She said: “Given the pressures on health and social care and the rising number of people living with impairments or long-term conditions, as well as an ageing population, there is a greater demand to enable more people to remain independent in their homes.

“With relatively straight forward adaptations in the home, such as replacing a bath with a level access shower, or fitting a stairlift, we can help people to remain safe and improve their independence and quality of life in their own homes through DFGs.”

DFGs allow disabled people to get a grant from their council to make vital changes to their homes, which could include: widening doors, installing ramps, installing stairlifts, getting adaptive heating controls and getting a downstairs bathroom.

The grants are means-tested and individuals can get up to £30,000 to make the necessary adaptations in their homes.

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