Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Hanson misses opporunity to initiate wider review of housing

5 September, 2006

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson, West Belfast MLA Fra McCann while welcoming the announcement of a review into housing affordability has questioned why it has taken so long to come about.

Mr McCann said:

"Sinn Féin has been calling for such a review for a number of years. David Hanson has been told time and time again that there is a serious housing crisis. Not only is the creation of an affordable housing sector crucial in dealing with the continuous increase in house prices but the review must also deal with the issue of the ongoing increases in house repossessions.

"The increasing dominance of property speculators and developers and the buy-to-let market is having a devastating impact on the housing market and affordability and the ability of first time buyers to get onto the housing ladder.

"There are also serious problems with the supply of social housing. Twenty years ago the Housing Executive were building 7000 homes a year and the Housing Associations building another 500. That figure today is less than 500 in total. There is an ever growing gap between the provision and the demand for social housing and homelessness this year has risen to unprecedented levels with over 20,000 presenting as homeless. It is a gap that is being filled by profiteers who are claiming millions in housing benefits.

"I will be meeting Mr Hanson in the coming days to demand a review into social housing. Hanson has missed a golden opportunity to take a wider review of the housing problem.

"Sinn Féin also have concerns about the appointment of John Semple to head up the affordable housing review. I am not convinced that he has the requisite knowledge or experience for this post beyond his previous employment as a senior civil servant. There are a number of people with the right expertise who have carried reviews into the housing situation in the north who may have been better candidates." ENDS

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