Tynwald support 'galvanises' housing report aims

Multicoloured roof tops of houses in a Manx village
The report by the Tynwald select committee on poverty was published in January [Manxscenes]

Tynwald support for recommendations in a review of housing on the Isle of Man "galvanised" concerns felt by politicians, the speaker of the House of Keys has said.

The select committee on poverty's report on housing and homelessness was received unanimously in Tynwald's June sitting after a raft of amendments.

Speaker Juan Watterson said it was "positive" that some of the 21 changes to the document, as suggested by the Housing and Communities Board, built upon the proposals.

But during last week's debate, committee member Joney Faragher MHK raised concerns that some updates moved suggestions "too far away" from the original aims.

'Clear timetable'

She said it was "frustrating" some of the recommendations had been "diluted".

The report called for a "renewed focus on housing" and made 32 recommendations on how to tackle an island-wide "housing crisis".

During the two-hour debate, members decided not to support some moves including the reintroduction of an affordable mortgage scheme and gathering data on people leaving prison who become homeless within six months due to difficulties gathering data.

Members also opposed the report's call for the Council of Ministers to commit to building a minimum of 100 older persons' housing units by 2030 and instead backed the suggestion to consider the Objective Assessment of Housing Need's findings on demand for housing, which was supported earlier in the sitting.

But suggestions for a government action plan on recommendations made by previous committees, and the creation of a register for those of "no fixed abode" were backed.

A range of amendments saw commitments to updating regulations on standards of rental properties and the consideration of government approaches to include vulnerable people on tenancy agreements.

Mr Watterson said members had "put their foot on the accelerator of progress" there were now "clear timetables" for action.

The support shown for the recommendations "tied government down to some real commitments" on housing and homelessness and proved the Manx parliament wanted to see progress "at pace", he added.

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