Housing plan under fire from SDLP

Mark H Durkan
Mark H Durkan

The Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland has launched the public consultation phase of his housing strategy: ‘Facing the Future: Housing strategy for Northern Ireland.’ Locally the report has been criticised for “lacking ambition and offering nothing new.”

The scathing comments were made by Foyle MLA and SDLP Social Development Spokesperson, Mark Durkan.

‘Facing the Future: Housing strategy for Northern Ireland’ outlines Minister McCausland’s plans for housing over the course of the next five years.

Mr. Durkan MLA said of the document: “This strategy could have addressed the housing shortage but it lacks detail and ambition in terms of new builds.”

Welcoming the publication of the Housing Strategy Mr. Durkan expressed concern that it offers nothing new.

The Foyle MLA said “There are a number of positive aspects to this strategy but regrettably there is little in it that is new.

“Lack of housing is a critical issue right across the North. The problem is particularly acute in my own constituency of Derry where over 2,000 people and families are on the housing list, the majority of whom are in urgent need of a home.

“The fact is that the number of social houses being built has reduced dramatically under Mr McCausland’s watch.

“I have pressed the Minister to do all in his power to stop this decline and secure additional funding from the Executive to build more homes than the levels currently budgeted for and planned.

“The fact that the Minister dodged this question will bring no comfort to those in housing stress and those with no roof over their heads. We will however continue to pressure the Minister for a change in heart on housing for those in need.”