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Sinn Féin calls for affordable housing taskforce

3 July, 2006

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson, West Belfast MLA Fra McCann has called on the British Direct Rule Housing Minister David Hanson to set up a special taskforce to deal with the growing problem of affordable housing in the North.

The party claims that every official report highlights the problem but it must now be dealt with so that the issue moves away from the 'paralysis of analysis' to a clear, focused strategy.

Mr McCann said:

"It is time that a taskforce with all the major players responsible for housing is set up. This would involve the Departments of Social Development, Regional Development, Environment, Finance & Personnel along with the Housing Executive and the umbrella group for Housing Associations and all other organisations with expertise in the housing field.

"Every official report highlights the problem but we now need to bring together all of those with a responsibility to deliver housing and with the expertise to deliver a solution. We need to move away from the 'paralysis of analysis' to a clear, focused strategy.

"There also needs to be a clear commitment to resources to fund increased provision of not just affordable housing but also social housing. And there also needs to be a commitment to deal with the damaging impact of the unregulated buy-to-let market and also how developers, both public and private, commit to delivering targets on both social and affordable housing.

"The number of young people able to buy a house is rapidly decreasing while the private buy-to-let market is spirally out of control. The current situation where the landlord is the winner and our young people are the losers is unsustainable." ENDS

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