Jersey politician lodges proposition to replace carpet loans with grants

ITV Channel's Emma Volney reports...

A Jersey politician has lodged a proposition calling for loans for carpets in social housing to be replaced with grants "to improve the lives of tenants".

Reform Jersey's Deputy Rob Ward wants Social Security Minister, Deputy Elaine Miller, to implement changes as he argues the current system is negatively impacting islanders on income support - who he believes are being pushed into poverty.

The government's social housing provider, Andium Homes, requires - in most cases - carpets to be replaced when a tenancy changes, even if the carpets are relatively new.

Emma Goodchild, who is herself repaying a government loan, said: "You struggle for those weeks while you are paying it back - just to get a carpet.

"You have just got to struggle until it's paid because there's not really much else you can do - you either don't go to them for help or stay cold without a carpet."

Andium tenant Emma Goodchild is in the process of repaying a carpet loan. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Deputy Rob Ward has branded the system "ridiculous" and said: "I have had people contacting me to say, 'we've just put new carpets in, we're moving, we don't want to rip them out, but we are'.

"There just needs to be a dose of common sense applied here and we can make life better for a lot of people."

Richard Nunn, of Salvation Army Jersey, added: "We have had families that are struggling with the cost of their carpets and we've had to help them with the cost because we can't sit back and watch families with their kids playing on bare concrete floors."

Deputy Elaine Miller previously revealed than an estimated 114 Andium tenants are currently repaying loans for the provision of carpets, totalling £108,000.

The minister explained that Andium provides homes on an unfurnished basis to save tenants from paying a security deposit when they move in.

Last year, a Freedom of Information revealed the amounts loaned to islanders who claim income support to pay for carpets between 2016 and 2021:

2016 - £80,303.072017 - £73,398.972018 - £92,584.912019 - £75,647.452020 - £97,406.242021 - £88,667.90

Deputy Rob Ward's proposition, which also asks for outstanding carpet loan payments to be written off, will be debated by States Members on 13 June.