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Social Housing – Time for talking over

29 January, 2008 - by Jennifer McCann


Sinn Fein Housing Spokesperson, West Belfast MLA Fra McCann has said that now the budget, along with substantial increases in the housing budget, has been agreed that we need to begin to action to tackle the housing crisis.

Speaking during the Assembly debate on the Budget Mr McCann said:

"The serious problems in the housing sector are not new. They have been with us for many years. This crisis is real; it affects everyone from the very young to the very old in our society; people priced out of ever owning a home because of the speculator and those on the waiting lists with no hope of getting a house because not enough new social houses where built.

"I am glad the argument about the budget is coming to an end, because this was hiding the real debate about housing. But in terms of what is required and what is detailed a huge gap exists.

"The way is now clear for the Minister for Social Development to tell us what she is going to do. She has hidden behind the budget for months. She can no longer hide behind that excuse.

"Sinn Fein, the DUP and other ministers have delivered the on their promise to prioritise housing by providing the finance - which Margaret Ritchie supported in the Executive. She now has to explain how she is going to spend her budget.

"There can be no excuse now for not producing an effective strategy which will bring the additional housing required. We have listened for months to the chorus of 'give me the money and I will deal with the housing crisis', she has been given the money, let us see what she can deliver.

"Having a home allows you to grow as a person. It gives people the dignity and confidence to build for the future. We need to know what has been done in the 8 months since Margaret Ritchie took office. What have been the results of her review group's deliberations and what recommendations they have laid before her? The time for talking is now over let us see what she can deliver." ENDS

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