I guess most Onchan residents will know that I have been trying get an element of fairness in respect of Social Housing rent levels in recent years, especially when rents for Local Authority Social Housing have increased by between 25% and 40% over the past five years.

It isn’t the actual rent levels that concern me, but the overall increases being imposed year on year without the implementation of a fair Means Testing System, in order to truly evaluate a tenant’s ability to pay these increases.

This is simply because I know the majority of Social Housing Tenants are on a low or a fixed income.

Putting aside the introduction of any fair Means Testing System for a moment, the problem is far more difficult than I first thought, especially when taking into account if a tenant is above the pensionable age or if they are actually under the current pensionable age but still considered retired and on a low income.

Having raised various questions on the floor of Tynwald and the House of Keys, I am extremely grateful that the DOI Minister Ray Harmer, MHK scheduled a meeting yesterday with the Housing Officers, the Political Member and the Director of Social Care to discuss my concerns in more detail.

This post focuses just on those Social Housing tenants who are of pensionable age or above, are retired and in receipt of the Basic State Pension, which is £122.30 (Basic State Pension) and the £53.75 (Manx Supplement), along with SERPS or Graduation built up over a working life.

Several Pensioners contacted me over the past 12 months confirming that they are basically living off around £185 per week, and therefore paying around 40% of their available income just on Social Housing rent, which includes any rates due to the Local Authority.

The conversation in the meeting held yesterday confirmed that AFTER such tenants have paid their Social Housing rent (maximum that can be claimed is up to £116 per week) they are still guaranteed to have at least £171 per week to meet their living expenses, but this could be as much as £186 per week if they get any state additional pension, occupational pension or personal pension.

In other words, any Social Housing tenant above pensionable age who currently is left with less than £186 per week once they have paid their rent needs to contact Social Services in order to claim any additional money they may be entitled to.

My father was one of those tenants in this situation and hopefully he will be better off in the near future, once this has been sorted out for him. I am certain that other tenants are in the same situation and therefore not actually claiming what they are entitled to claim.

Unfortunately, I had a few iPad issues on Wednesday, which meant my iPad needed a factory reset and therefore I have lost various contact details and notes etc which I have gathered over the past 18 months – but hopefully this post will reach all those tenants who contacted me directly over the past 12 months to highlight this issue.

If in any doubt, then please call Social Services directly or drop me a quick message.

I will be picking up other elements of the puzzle over the next few months, so watch this space…..