An MHK says rents should be frozen in public sector housing until means testing is introduced to make the system fairer.

Onchan member Rob Callister doesn’t believe ’tenants should be punished’ by annual rises while major policies are still being developed by the government .

’I feel the Department of Infrastructure should apply a 0% increase from April 2019, in order to give sufficient time for means testing and a fair rent system to be introduced.’

The Cabinet Office is still grappling with the principles of a means-testing system – an update is expected before the end of the year.

Mr Callister wants to see any changes based on a ’solid foundation of financial information’.

Many local authorities share the Onchan MHK’s sentiments over a desire for means testing. Four authorities voted for rents to be frozen, citing concerns over the fairness of the system, and of slow wage growth against inflation.

The Department of Infrastructure – not local authorities – sets rents.

It is expected to announce its final decision on rents in December.

Mr Callister is backing the view of the commissioners in Onchan, Castletown, Peel and Port St Mary plus the Manx Labour Party that rents should not increase.

Other authorities have taken a different view.

Douglas says rents should rise by inflation measured by the retail prices index. That would mean tenants would pay 4.7% more.

Other authorities suggested smaller figures.

Source: IoM Today