Durkan: Hargey’s housing promises dangerously light on detail

housing mark h durkan Social housing

SDLP Communities Spokesperson Mark H Durkan has said Sinn Féin Minister Deirdre Hargey’s pledge to build 100,000 homes over 15 years has been plucked from thin air.

Mr Durkan said Minister Hargey has been unable to provide details of the plans in her department’s Housing Supply Strategy.

He has attempted to obtain clarity from the Minister on a number of occasions, but her responses have shed no further light on the plans.

Foyle MLA Mr Durkan said:

“Minister Hargey promised to deliver over 100,000 homes as part of the Housing Supply Strategy. This strategy is of course welcome news but having written to the Minister to ask for a breakdown of the housing options included in the 100,000 properties commitment, she was unable to provide the detail. Minister Hargey said she hoped a third of these homes would be social housing which shows a distinct lack of ambition and represents no great increase on the current build rate.

“I took the opportunity during Communities Question Time this week to raise this matter again. The Minister's response was less than convincing, stating 'it was important to put a figure in' while admitting that no prior analysis has been carried out. I would think the Minister would have carried out a robust study before going public with this figure.

“Ministers shouldn’t be making promises they can't deliver on, it unfairly raises people’s expectations and erodes their trust in public representatives when they don’t materialise. This figure is a bit of a stretch to say the least. Plucking numbers from thin air for the sake of grabbing headlines or for the Minister's party to claim their colleague is 'tackling the housing crisis up North' to give them cover from their own inaction to attack the government in the South isn't just reckless, it's immoral to raise the hopes of thousands of families here desperately waiting for a home.

“Given the Minister’s failure to deliver adequate and timely support to those suffering from welfare cuts, rising energy bills and the cost of living crisis, it’s hardly surprising that people doubt her ability to deliver these homes. We have seen in recent weeks how the Minister could not even deliver a fit for purpose scheme for those in need of emergency heating support. In the unlikely event these houses are ever built, they will still not address the North’s social and affordable housing crisis which is only set to get worse over the next 15 years without proper action and a Minister who’s up to the job.”

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