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Co-ownership crisis – Minister must set out strategy to provide affordable housing

18 March, 2008

Sinn Féin Chief Whip, North Belfast MLA Carál Ní Chuilín questioned whether the Housing Minister is serious about providing affordable housing after the co-ownership scheme admitted that it would not be able meet the demand from people who want help to buy a home.

Ms Ní Chuilín said,

"News that no new applications will be accepted onto the co-ownership scheme points to serious problems with both the scheme and the approach of the department.

"Despite the fanfare accompanying the recent ministerial statement we appear to be no closer to putting in place a strategy to tackle the housing crisis and particularly to deal with affordability.

"There are very genuine concerns about the dependence on co-ownership and its ability to deal with the issue of affordability. Evidence shows that this approach is far more costly in the long run. There seems to be far too much emphasis on a Thatcherite approach to housing.

"Sinn Féin believes that the right to affordable quality accommodation is a basic inalienable right - not a privilege. Housing policy should be about delivering this basic right.

"We need a clear statement from the Minister not just setting out her response to the announcement that the co-ownership scheme has stalled but exactly what she intends to do provide affordable housing." ENDS

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