Guernsey States asked to agree extra £20m for benefits

Up to £20m needs to be found to provide help to islanders not already receiving benefits from the States, the Social Security Department has suggested.

If approved in March the island's benefit system would, for the first time, provide assistance to those living in private rental accommodation.

Deputy Minister Andrew Le Lievre said the benefit system had to change so it was fair for everyone.

He said there was a huge gap between rich and poor in the island.

Deputy Le Lievre said: "There is a huge difference between the upper echelons of financial status in Guernsey and the lower echelons.

"In unequal societies you suffer levels of deprivation, an us and them society, which is not healthy, it's not good for society to have massive levels of difference.

"All we're talking about is raising the level of benefit and assistance to something akin to that which is already enjoyed by people living in social housing."

The department has also asked for permission to change the supplementary benefit legislation as the current system is "based on 40-year-old legislation and a structure which is nearly 60 years old".

It said a change would also allow the department to define when a person is capable of work on a full or part-time basis.

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