Housing will be first item on agenda for next States debate

ADDRESSING living standards and mitigating climate change are among the issues which will be given a higher priority between now and Guernsey’s next election, if States members agree to proposals being put forward by its lead committee.

Policy & Resources vice-president Heidi Soulsby is leading on the GWP. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30815205)
Policy & Resources vice-president Heidi Soulsby is leading on the GWP. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30815205)

Policy & Resources published the latest iteration of its Government Work Plan yesterday – an updated precis of the most essential work on which the States should focus its limited financial and human resources.

‘We know that issues around the cost of living haven’t bitten so much as in the UK,’ P&R vice-president Deputy Heidi Soulsby said, ‘but we know that it’s becoming a real challenge in terms of fuel and food and we’ve got to see what we can do there.

‘So Employment & Social Security are doing quite a lot of work around minimum income standards – what people need to survive, basically.’

One of those essential needs, she said, was having somewhere to live.

Housing will be the first item on the agenda when States members are asked, at their meeting in mid-June, to agree the island’s top priorities. Addressing capacity and affordability in the private housing market, supplying adequate key worker housing and managing the stock of States’ housing are the three strands of work identified as urgent.

Guernsey’s recently-agreed Paris Agreement commitments have also focused minds, with the implications causing a greater degree of urgency on emissions.

‘This time there’s much more focus on energy resilience and climate change mitigation,’ Deputy Soulsby said.

‘We’re running out of time to deal with that.

‘It’s been within the GWP but the idea is to escalate that into a top priority.’

Home insulation could play a role in addressing both of the newly-promoted priorities, she said.

‘We know that’s the biggest area where people can save money on their energy costs and it also helps climate change.’

The GWP debate is scheduled to begin on Tuesday 14 June.

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