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Minister Ritchie might do better to go back to the drawing board - McCann

27 March, 2009 - by Fra McCann

Fra McCann Sinn Féin MLA for west Belfast has called on the minister for Social Development to go back to the drawing board with regards her proposed budget for 09-10.   Fra McCann said the minister is,   “Putting all her eggs in the one basket, she has said that all replacement schemes and maintenance schemes will be hit hard as she concentrates on new build.   Many small building firms will go to the wall and hundreds will lose their jobs if the minister goes down this path.”   At this week’s social development committee meeting Fra McCann asked the minister to spread the budget across all aspects of housing.   Cllr McCann said,   “To discontinue kitchen and other replacements as well as aspects of maintenance only costs more in the long run, homes will deteriorate if not dealt with and will cost more in the longer term.   People have been expecting these essential upgrades for some time now but with this decision they have once again been let down by the minister   Small builders who rely on this work for employment will be greatly affected by this decision; this once again shows Margaret Ritchie is incapable of running her departmental budget.   She has shown no imagination in bringing alternative proposals to fund social new build schemes, all we have had is broken promises.   For the second time in months I have suggested that she use land which is situated in areas of high housing demand to build new houses, this can cut in half the unit price of new build if given to housing associations. Up until now all we have been told is that this Sinn Féin proposal is being looked at.” CRÍOCH

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