Action group formed to tackle housing problems

A HOUSING action group is being formed by States committees in an effort to speed up the building of more homes.

Emoployment & Social Security president Deputy Peter Roffey. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29645321)
Emoployment & Social Security president Deputy Peter Roffey. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29645321)

A housing strategy programme has already been operating under the chairmanship of Employment and Social Security president Peter Roffey, working with members of Policy & Resources and Environment & Infrastructure.

It has looked at the island’s needs in terms of affordable – a term often used to describe social housing – and private sector housing.

A discussion paper on the housing issues faced by the island has been published by the Guernsey Party and raised suggestions that could help first- or second-time buyers while at the same time addressing the island’s number of people who are part of ‘generation rent’.

It put forward various ways in which help could be given to those looking to buy, from guarantees on deposits to people being able to rent and eventually buy their homes outright.

But Deputy Roffey said that in his opinion the most important issue was housing supply: ‘This must be a priority,’ he said.

The affordability of private market housing, the increasing social rental and partial ownership waiting lists and the severe shortage of available private rental accommodation all impacted on the ability to recruit and retain key workers.

These issues needed to be addressed immediately if the island’s housing requirements were to get close to being met.

‘The supply of housing, and its availability for the right tenures, in the island is key to resolving this and solutions need to be found quickly.’

To consider these needs, ESS, E&I and the board of the Housing Strategy Programme have agreed to create and prioritise a housing action group.

The presidents of P&R, ESS and E&I will provide political input to the new group while senior officers from a range of service areas will also participate.

The Guernsey Housing Association will also be invited to get involved.

‘The aim is to expedite the creation of additional homes in both the general and social housing markets,’ said Deputy Roffey.

More details on the creation of this new body will be released in due course.

n Recent figures showed that the average cost of a property in Guernsey was more than half a million pounds in the first quarter of 2021 while average rents rose by 10% in the last year.

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