Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Support for Housing must be based on radical agenda

1 July, 2005


Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson, West Belfast MLA Fra McCann has dismissed today's announcement from direct rule Regional Development Minister Shaun Woodward on government policy to address affordability as 'too little too late' and called for a radical agenda to address housing need.

Cllr McCann said:

"Sinn Féin have been leading the demand for a radical shake up of housing policy. We need a radical shake up of the points system for the Housing Executive and fundamentally we need to do something about the failure of Housing Associations to meet the level of demand for social housing. We believe that need to allow a revamped and more representative and accountable Housing Executive to take the lead responsibility in substantial new build programme.

"Today's announcement from Shaun Woodward is very disappointing. His refusal to accept full responsibility for dealing with the provision of affordable housing is a disgrace. If central government does not lead from the front in meeting the need for housing then the reality is that the fundamental right to housing will not be met.

"Placing absolute faith in co-ownership is a mistake. We need a radical agenda for meeting housing need that will only be realised if there is a commitment to provide social housing.

"Sinn Fein have voiced serious concern at the impact of the Housing Growth Indicators in both urban and rural areas in limiting the development of sustainable communities. A read across of the implications of the indicators demonstrates that it is largely within nationalist areas that there will be a very significant shortfall of housing. The decision to increase the indicators is a step in the right direction but it will only pay dividends if it is matched with a radical agenda for the provision of social housing.

"This announcement is too little too late. I believe that we need to call together a roundtable forum on housing including all of the community, voluntary, statutory and political stakeholders to develop a vision for meeting housing need that is based on the fundamental rights of people to appropriate and affordable housing." ENDS

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