Thank you for contacting me about Shelter's Building Our Way Out report and the New Homes Rescue Fund. The report raises many important points about our economic recovery, challenges faced by tenants and future plans for housebuilding across the country.
I recognise the multiple difficulties that the current pandemic presents, especially when there is still much uncertainty over what further temporary measures may be needed to keep people safe and protect livelihoods.
The lockdown has been a hard time for many, especially those that were shielding throughout the pandemic to stay safe. The six-month suspension of evictions helped protect thousands of households in their homes, while the new six-month eviction notice period will provide further stability. Eviction enforcement has been paused until 31 March, except in cases such as domestic abuse.
I believe that we need to build the right houses in the right areas for Islanders. We need to build well-designed, high-quality housing, on brownfield sites in existing communities, in appropriate numbers for Islanders. Alongside this, we must also look at protecting our countryside and landscape, whether by extending the AONB or by creating a new Island Park designation.
I realise the stress that restrictions have placed on individuals and families, and I hope we can get to a point of a ‘new normal’ where people can start to re-build their lives.