Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Ritchie must use new Housing money to set out strategy to tackle housing crisis

15 January, 2008

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson, West Belfast MLA Fra McCann has welcomed confirmation that the Department of Social Development ahs been allocated an additional £45 million towards housing and an additional £2 million towards the Warm Homes Scheme.

He also questioned why some £18 million are been lost to the DSD resource Budget to the December Monitoring Round.

Mr McCann said:

"This additional £45 million investment in housing by the Executive is good news. In the October monitoring round she received an additional £20 million. We now need to see the Housing Minister Margaret Ritchie come up with the goods and begin to set out a strategy to tackling the housing crisis.

"I am concerned that despite the Minister's loud claims of having insufficient money to make a start that it has now emerged that she handed £18 million back to the Executive because she was unable to spend it, particularly given the 50% cut facing the Warm Homes Scheme.

"There are now more people waiting for social housing than at any other time in the last 35 years. The numbers of people who are homeless are at record levels and despite the slow down in the housing market many thousands of people, particularly first time buyers have no chance of securing affordable housing.

"The Minister has now been in office for 8 months and yet all we hear is excuse after excuse. Sinn Féin will do all in our power to support Margaret Ritchie but at some point she has to indicate what it is she intends to do to begin to tackle the crisis in social and affordable housing." ENDS

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