Changes to Guernsey's open market 'could cost £1bn'

Changes to the open market housing system could result in a loss of £1bn, a Guernsey politician has said.

Deputy Jan Kuttelwascher raised his concerns over a new population management report.

It includes the possibility that open market residents could be required to make an economic contribution.

Deputy Kuttelwascher, a member of the Scrutiny Committee, said the move could lead to a £1bn devaluation of open market properties.

He said fewer house sales would take place, and this in turn would lead to a drop in value which would bring open market prices in line with local market housing.

Guernsey currently has two housing registers: the open market and the local market.

Anyone wishing to live in local market housing must hold a qualifying Right to Work permit, whereas anyone can live in open market accommodation.

The Scrutiny Committee said the population policy report did propose good replacements for current Housing and Right to Work laws.

It said the new proposals would not help to stop the possibility of residency through human rights claims.

It said it would not make it impossible for somebody living in Guernsey for five years to claim that the island was their home under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.

The track record for such cases shows those appealing have tended to win.

The Population Policy Plan will be debated in the January States meeting.

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