Sinn Féin - On Your Side

More Social Housing Needed‏ - Relax Housing Executive restrictions

13 December, 2007

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has called on Social Development Minister Margaret Richie to relax the restrictions on the Housing Executive so that it can start to build new social housing.

Mr McCartney said,

"Derry is now feeling the full effects of the decade long underinvestment in social and affordable housing by government.

"The housing crisis that exists means that in practice those paying £130 to £145 per week to private landlords for a home cannot afford to take jobs in call centres which pay a net wage of around £190 per week. Even with Working Family Tax Credit the percentage spend from their disposable income on housing far exceeds what is reasonable to expect a family to set aside for rent.

"The policy of selling off Housing Executive properties but not allowing the proceeds to be re-invested in the public estate had contributed directly to this crisis.

"Government must act now to relax the restrictions upon the Housing Executive and allow them to new build properties in high demand areas such as Derry through the allocation of the proceeds from Housing Executive house sales.

"Along with this action work should begin to identify areas within Derry which can be developed quickly to address this situation, and if necessary, land vesting should be considered as an option where the public good is being frustrated by those land-banking to secure windfall profits." ENDS

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