Guernsey Press

‘Step change is needed in States’ approach to housing’

A ‘STEP change’ is needed in the States’ approach to housing and affordability if it is to address the situation, Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller has said.

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Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller. (33297803)

The deputy was commenting after receiving replies to written questions she sent to Employment & Social Security and Environment & Infrastructure committees asking about the levels of funding and staffing they had for housing-related matters since 2020. Given the importance of housing, she said she was surprised by the answers.

‘Looking at the responses provided one could reach a conclusion that not enough resources have been allocated into housing, given its elevated priority status,’ she said.

She had asked the questions in order to get a better understanding of the resources being allocated, given housing’s priority status in the Government Work Plan. Since the housing mandate is largely split between ESS and E&I, she had approached those two committees.

‘If I were in business, resource allocation, that is budget and FTE [full-time equivalent staff] count, would be a good proxy for how much investment is being prioritised into delivering something,’ she said.

One of the answers she received from E&I was that it had only allocated funding for housing matters for the first time this year, which it said was £95,000 for its housing and infrastructure team.

‘I was quite surprised to see that no specific resources were allocated to housing by E&I until 2024,’ she said. ‘This is not to say that no work was done before 2024 but that no specific FTE was secured or dedicated to housing and the work was split among officers across the States. Also, the budget spent since the beginning of this political term by E&I was £110,000 which also seems minor given the complexity and priority.’

She did not feel it would be an exaggeration to say that the community felt the States had not done enough on housing this term and the responses she had received raised the question of whether the States’ approach over the last four years had been enough and effective, and if a different one was needed.

‘I think there is a good argument to say that there needs to be a step change in our approach.’

She would be considering the issue further, she added.