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Chris Robertshaw

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About Chris Robertshaw

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  1. On the recent Manx Forum topic about the Douglas East by election I mentioned that as soon as I could make available both Kate Beecroft's speech for party politics and mine against party politics I would come back here. The PAG have now put them both up on their website positiveactiongroup.org. By clicking on 'party politics debate' at the top right hand corner of their home page you will find Kate's speech first and then mine. It should be pointed out that we were both allowed only eight minutes each to speak so that influenced the degree of detail we were both able to go into. Many thanks to the PAG for doing this.
  2. Fair question - I have asked PAG if they will put both my JCC speech against party politics and Kate's JCC speech for party politics up on their website so you can consider both sides of the argument. They have agreed - but It wont happen straight away. As soon as it does I will tell you.
  3. quilp - There are limitations to what information can or cannot be used for means testing and we are working our way through this. For example - the vires already exists to use tax based data when cross checking a parent(s) level of entitlement to child benefit but more work must be done in other areas to achieve the necessary level of access. Means testing as a concept must be kept as simple as possible. At the moment each area under consideration for means testing is being considered on its merits in order to achieve the highest possible level of sensitivity with regard to the action being taken (both to the individual contributor and the broader impact of the cumulative effect of means testing on an individual and/or family) but the ultimate aim must be to progressively move towards a single broader framework for means testing. This is a major departure for government and must be done as carefully as possible.
  4. A deficiency cannot be seen as a measure of a housing authority's efficiency or otherwise - rather it is the degree to which central government (taxpayers funds) bridge the annual gap in funding between the rents received and the actual annual cost resulting from new build for any given housing authority. Thus the more new build a housing authority has carried out - the larger their deficiency is likely to be - with the converse also applying. The move towards higher rents is designed to stabilise that level of deficiency as the programme for new build or substantial refurbishment continues. The current total deficiency level is circa £6m. per annum. Had we not acted on rents the total deficiency level was predicted to rise over the coming years (when taking into account the projected investment programme) to £17m per annum which quite obviously would have been totally unsustainable. There is no intention to stop investing in social housing as we are still playing catch up on the investment programme. Also, for many years, social housing rents levels were supressed which is why the current readjustment is difficult. So - the deficiency level is a mark of the more recent investment a housing authority has put into new build which in turn is as good indicator of the age of the housing stock needing replacement in their particular area - not as might be suggested by one contributor- a guide to their efficiency. To be fair, historically, it is the housing authorities that have been pushing for sustainable rent increases and central government, in the times of plenty, that resisted for what ever reason. I have also been criticised for raising rents before introducing means testing - I accept this but it would not have been possible to introduce this any quicker than is planned (April 2015) but neither would it have been possible to leave rents so artificially low until means testing is introduced as the sudden overnight hike at that point would have been totally untenable. Means testing will provide the opportunity to identify both those on very low incomes but who are outside the benefits system as well as those on much higher incomes - and adjust rents accordingly within the means testing framework. Again, contrary to what another contributor here has suggested - the rent comparisons between the private rental sector and public sector housing provided by my department were fair. The observation made (by the same contributor) about rates being excluded was not relevant.
  5. I have every intention of joining the debate on here at the same time as taking it out to the general public through public meetings, putting the information on line and engaging in radio programmes and through newspaper articles etc. This will happen next year once my department, the treasury and our consultants have pulled together a set of options for people to consider.
  6. I absolutely do not share the many assumptions you have made here.
  7. Which part of 'Tynwald already has sufficient legislation that is not being policed effectively on at least 4% of uninhabitable properties on the island' do you not understand Chris? Come on...we thought you were better than this. You needed to get out of the office and talk to these landlords before you came up with this plan. You are making few friends in terms of tenants or landlords. The effective result is nothing but a tax take for the government purse at the expense of both - whilst we are still left with a bloated government, even more of which will be required to admin this latest scheme. Sorry - It is you that does not understand - if what you are suggesting is true then I would not be going to the trouble of introducing a system of registration through new legislation (I went through this matter carefully before embarking on the chosen route). Your real anger comes from the fact that you believe government should be smaller and on that we agree. With our small tax base I do not believe we have any alternative but to work towards a smaller more efficient government. What about the basic Housing Act? Has that been enforced in any of these places? I can assure you that if there was an effective way of dealing with the issues through the use of existing legislation - then I would have used it.
  8. That is the main reason for introducing the legislation - to help deal with this issue - I am sorry I have not made myself clear
  9. Which part of 'Tynwald already has sufficient legislation that is not being policed effectively on at least 4% of uninhabitable properties on the island' do you not understand Chris? Come on...we thought you were better than this. You needed to get out of the office and talk to these landlords before you came up with this plan. You are making few friends in terms of tenants or landlords. The effective result is nothing but a tax take for the government purse at the expense of both - whilst we are still left with a bloated government, even more of which will be required to admin this latest scheme. Sorry - It is you that does not understand - if what you are suggesting is true then I would not be going to the trouble of introducing a system of registration through new legislation (I went through this matter carefully before embarking on the chosen route). Your real anger comes from the fact that you believe government should be smaller and on that we agree. With our small tax base I do not believe we have any alternative but to work towards a smaller more efficient government.
  10. Because the market is on its arse and there are lots of reluctant landlords out there just struggling to survive. Some have had to let houses they can't sell because the market is so bad, some have left the Island as they can't get work and they can't sell up either, and some thought buy to let was a great idea 5 years ago and are geared up to their arses and have the banks on their backs and a shortage of tenants. None of these people can afford the extra costs and the extra hassle as they probably aren't making a penny on their lets because of the circumstances they are in. So right when things are bad, here comes a load of stupid rules to kick them in the nuts with. It won't stop the really bad abusers, and it won't impact on the rental empire of the Islands 'favourite' property developer. It will just take even more margin out of those who are only renting because they can't sell, putting them in a worse position. If you have a problem with 4% of landlords you don't fix it by imposing new rules on 100% of them in times of economic hardship. Thank you for explaining the reasoning behind your views expressed earlier. The 'stupid rules' your refer to are things that landlords should already be complying with now. The proposals consolidate them all in one place. The proposed legislation is designed to deal with those working below basic decency standards and I am confident it will do so. The extra cost you talk about is a registration fee once every three years and is modest.
  11. hboy If the current legislation worked then there would be no need to bring in any new legislation. You say the new legislation will be overbearing - in what way do you think that will be the case? Chris
  12. Amadeus, I extended the landlord and tenant (private housing) bill consultation because there appeared to be a lot of misunderstandings about it and I thought extra time would help people to both understand it better and provide more time for the submission of views to the consultation. I also encouraged landlords to set up their own association so that they could better represent their interests in matters such as legislation. This legislation is all about achieving basic minimum standards of decency above which most landlords already operate. Sadly there are some who do not. The last survey conducted indicated that between three and four percent of properties are not fit for human habitation. There are about 7000 properties on the Isle of Man in the private rental market.
  13. Good morning Gladys I reported the following to the radio - there are a total of around 6000 public sector houses and with approx. 10% turnover per annum, this would provide around 600 agreements per year - so - same percentages but different numbers.
  14. In reply to Manshimajin I have said many times in public that I was angry with the previous administration for not 'getting a grip' when they must have known they should have done. Turning to your point about me acting in isolation. Again I have said that modernising social policy to make it fit for purpose is one of a number of actions that will need to be taken. The last time I said this was in my July 2012 www.manx.net/tv interview with Paul Moulton (it is in two parts). It will take a number of core projects to overcome our current account imbalance and these will have to compliment each other and will only succeed if they are seen to be fair and balanced.
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