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Jersey Construction Council (26 January 2016)

​Morning to you all, and thank you for your kind invitation to attend today. 

We can all appreciate that a decent place to call home is central to our quality of life. 

It is fundamental to our need for comfort, security and stability. It affects our health and well-being. Our sense of place in the community.

I believe we need a single vision for housing in Jersey, with a range of actions to make things better. That is what this housing strategy seeks to do. 

It has four clear objectives:

  • balanced supply
  • best use of housing
  • improved standards
  • stronger communities

Your industry is key player in enabling us to achieve these objectives. 

The success of the strategy is dependent upon the delivery of new homes, with many of these homes needing to be provided as part of the regeneration of our town. 

It’s not just about homes though, it’s about the communities in which people live. 

We need more investment in amenities and more green spaces, so we get a more attractive town from which we all benefit. 

To deliver this, the States needs to use its land better, including delivering homes on under used sites. 

We would like more offices in town converted into good residential units as commercial space becomes vacant. 

We are also undertaking a review of the obligations we place on developers to improve the areas they are developing, and how we might extract more value from land to invest in amenities, housing, and infrastructure. 

This is something that you will hear more about from the Minister for the Environment very shortly.

As I say, we need a strong construction industry to help us achieve our ends. A private sector that can be confident when making investment decisions. 

To help, we are supporting your industry with their staffing needs; we are delivering significant investment in housing and infrastructure, and we need to provide as much certainty in our planning system as we can. 

Importantly, we are supporting overall economic growth, which drives your activities.

It is not just about more homes though; it is also about choice. 

We want to ensure that long term living in good quality rental accommodation is a desirable choice.

To do this, we need to improve housing standards, particularly for those renting in the town, who are much less satisfied with their housing than those who own or live elsewhere. 

As well as investing, we are therefore developing better regulation to support landlords and tenants, including accreditation schemes, building on past work to professionalise the market. 

We also need to use our existing housing stock efficiently; trying to reduce the number of vacant properties, and getting the most out of our own social housing stock.

Ministers are also committed to supporting targeted migration. For us, this includes supporting the construction industry. At the same time, it is not acceptable to have more migration than our housing stock can reasonable accommodate.

Other jurisdictions have recognised that not enough emphasis has been placed on housing. We are making sure housing is top of the agenda. 

We have to be realistic about what we can achieve, and it will take time, but we have developed a long term vision which I believe moves us firmly and clearly in the right direction. 

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