Unpaid rents now stand at over £6 Million!
Government rental accommodation must always be provided to those members of our community who most need this subsidy. However, we are seeing levels of unpaid rents increase year on year and even more so under the GSLP Government. On 31st March 2011 arrears stood at £3.7 Million and as of January 2016 they stand at a staggering £6.015M. This level of debt is not acceptable and something must be done to curb the ever increasing level of debt by those who fail to meet their weekly/monthly commitment to pay their way.
We recognise that there are a small number of people who, despite their attempts to pay their rent, are unable to do so and it is right that we as a community should bear the cost of supporting those struggling to make ends meet. However, the abuse by some must cease and the Government needs to take active and effective steps to recover losses, which are ultimately borne by the community as a whole. It is remarkable that as from 1st July 2015 to the last sitting of Parliament in January 2016, only two cases of eviction proceedings have progressed through our Courts. More can be done and must be done in this respect. To simply point the finger back to the 16 years of the previous administration demonstrates a lack of leadership and conviction by the GSLP administration to properly deal with the issue as it stands today. The Government’s rushed announcement of their “innovative measure” to prevent people with arrears from being allocating berths at the small boats marina smacks of too little too late and we invite the Government to disclose their detailed plans to recover unpaid rents.
In March 2014, we announced our policy to means test new applicants seeking to access Government housing, a policy which we consider fair, sustainable and in the best long term interests of our community. We would have hoped that Government would have adopted this policy. During the General Election, we advocated for new measures which would ensure that the Housing Department could obtain swift orders for attachment of earnings so that those who continue to breach their rent payment obligations will have amounts deducted directly from their salaries/wages.
Elliott Phillips MP said: “ We need to take a firm stand on unpaid rents, tenants who can afford to pay and who are not meeting their commitments must do so and the law needs to be strengthen and enforced in order to achieve this. Many thousands of hard working families are dutifully paying rent to the Government, to private landlords or are paying mortgages. We are all contributing to our community and it is not fair that the few who are failing to pay their way without valid reasons are being allowed to get away with this. There are some members of our community who are, despite their best efforts, struggling financially and it is right that we as a community should continue to support those most in need. But it cannot be fair, sustainable, or in the long term interests of this community to irresponsibly allow rental arrears to continue to increase without taking proactive steps to recover these as soon as possible”.Read More