Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Housing Minister must deliver - McCann MLA

23 November, 2007

Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast, Fra McCann has written to the Minister of Finance asking that prioritisation be given to housing in the budget and a greater focus should be given to housing from the Social Development Minister herself.

Mr McCann said,

"It is of great concern to me that no social houses will be built next year at all and unfortunately year two and three do not auger well either.

"This is a disgrace. Those most in need in our society are the ones who will suffer. I have pointed out to the Minister that at a time when the waiting lists stand at 36,000, and there is yearly increases of those declaring themselves homeless, with some 10,000 in the first two quarters of this year, this issue has not been given the priority and resources it requires to deal with the crisis we find ourselves in.

"Special adaptations to the homes of those with serious illnesses are another item which will be seriously affected by this budget as it stands at present.

"There is still time to change this. Both housing and the community and voluntary sector will be seriously impacted on if the draft budget remains as it is. I have appealed to the Minister to make the housing aspect of the budget something which every one can buy into.

"I have also written to the Minister of Social Development and asked to stop blaming everybody else for not delivering.

"She is the Minister and has at her disposal the means of kick -starting the fightback in terms of providing social housing and creating an affordable housing market.

"At the last Social Development meeting I asked the Minister about other examples of affordability, especially what is being called the £60,000 house, (not its final price) where thousands are being built in England to deal with the affordable problem.

"In the 26 counties they swap land for housing which provides much needed affordable and social housing and also use part 5 of their planning to ensure that in any new development at least 20% is left aside for social and affordable housing.

"Yet the Minister informs us she will be going to both England and to the 26 counties to look at models of affordability.

"This is a disgrace; she has been in power over 6 months.

"The affordability review has been in operation for months and she is just about to visit these places to see how affordability works.

"If housing is the priority she says it is then this should have been done months ago." ENDS

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