Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Housing Minster's "head in the sand"

23 March, 2006

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Cllr Fra McCann MLA has accused British direct rule housing minister, David Hanson, of burying his head in the sand, when it comes to housing issues.

Cllr McCann said:

"Sinn Féin have told David Hanson that the supply of social housing is drying up and that houses prices are spiralling out of the range of many people especially, young first time buyers. The failure to initiate any discussion on the issue of affordability, and the obsession with co-ownership as the only way of delivering affordable homes is short-sighted.

"There is a clear comparison with the south where councils have developed a different approach to affordable homes by negotiating with contractors building on council land.

"There is also a stark contrast in the housing priority in England and the lack of priority given to housing by English ministers here. In England and Wales, John Prescott has been developing affordable housing policies for several years, and recently threw down the challenge to the construction industry to build a quality 2 bedroom house for £60,000. Despite the claims it could not be done it, has now been completed and preferred developers has been announced to build a thousand new homes.

"Such an approach here would have a huge impact in places like Magherafelt, Newry, Derry or Belfast and the many other areas where young people are being forced out because house prices are out of their range.

"There is no point burying his head in the sand, David Hanson must get to grips with this issue. Delay only adds to an already serious problem. There can be no excuses for not talking to people in society who understand the problem, instead of senior civil servants who clearly have no understanding of the reality facing our young people." ENDS

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