A total of 114 Andium tenants are currently repaying loans for the provision of carpets, the Social Security Minister has revealed.
At yesterday’s States sitting, Deputy Elaine Millar said that £108,000 was the estimated total cost of these special payment loans to income support. She added that she could only provide an estimate because of the way loans were reported and it was not possible to guarantee that the amount was wholly for carpets.
Deputy Rob Ward, who asked the minister for the figures, said that the extra costs for carpets in social housing would not be needed if these were installed ‘in the first place’, removing additional loans for those already ‘least able to pay a loan in our community’.
Deputy Montfort Tadier expressed concern that this system could set a precedent.
He said: ‘Andium is the only housing provider that doesn’t provide their customers or tenants with flooring.
‘This sends out a signal to other landlords that it’s acceptable for them not to provide carpets, as the Social Security Department will provide loans so that tenants can pay for it themselves.’
However, Deputy Millar confirmed that Andium provides homes on an unfurnished basis to save tenants from paying a security deposit to replace or renew damaged goods.
She added that it was ‘important’ that these loans remained available for tenants to choose their furnishings.
She said: ‘It matters to people that they have choice over their environment.
‘The last thing someone with a green sofa might want is a red carpet. It is entirely right that we provide funding to allow for that.’
Near the end of the debate, Deputy Geoff Southern asked the Social Security Minister about the shift in government support over recent years from grants to loans and whether she would consider a reversal.
Deputy Millar responded that this was a ‘big question’ and said grants remained available for some individuals such as care leavers.