08 May 2013
The Housing Minister, Deputy Andrew Green, has today (8 May 2013) published his formal response to the Scrutiny sub-panel's review of his proposals for housing reform.
The Health, Social Security and Housing Scrutiny sub-panel, chaired by Deputy Kristina Moore, released their review of the Housing Transformation Programme last month.
The Housing Minister's proposals for social housing reform, which are due to be debated in the States on 14 May, proposes four key changes for the social housing sector:
- establish a Strategic Housing Unit (SHU) that would recommend a clearly joined-up, Island-wide housing strategy
- create an independent regulator to ensure that:
establish a new wholly States-owned housing company to deliver decent homes with commercial efficiency and enhanced tenant focus
return social housing rents to previously agreed fair rent levels (90% of market value) to make the whole sector financially viable and remove the current unintended hidden rent subsidy over time
- the stock is improved
- social housing providers have high standards
- social housing is financially sustainable for the future
Deputy Green acknowledged the amount of time and effort that has gone into producing such a detailed report and has given full consideration to the findings and recommendations that have been suggested. The Minister is encouraged that the sub-panel are supportive of the need for reform and of his proposals. In particular, their agreement with proposals for the creation of a SHU, the new housing company and a return to nearer market rents is noted. The Minister is also pleased that the panel recognise the need for some new governance or regulation for social housing providers.
Deputy Green said “Once again, I would like to extend my thanks to Deputy Moore and her panel for the amount of time and effort that has gone into producing their report. I will look to consult further with the panel to ensure that whatever form regulation takes it is appropriate and meaningful for Jersey and its social housing sector.
“In my response to the panel's report I have accepted 14 of their 19 recommendations and given details of how we are already working towards achieving these aims as part of the Housing Transformation Programme.”
In April, Professor Christine Whitehead OBE, who carried out a review of social housing in Jersey initially, published her comments on the Housing Minister's proposals for reform stating that it met all of the challenges that were identified in her initial report.
Deputy Green added "I am encouraged with the amount of discussion and debate that has already taken place in relation to my proposals and the significant support that I have had from tenants and other stakeholders. I expect an interesting debate will take place on 14 May.”