There can be no doubt, despite the dressing up, the recent statement delivered by the Minister of Communities regarding the Northern Ireland Housing Executive is nothing more than a plan for privatisation. Despite the minister’s statement that ‘we need to build more social homes’ all the signs are clear, the plan is to break up the housing executive into co-operatives.
Gemma Weir, Workers Party North Belfast representative said ‘The Northern Ireland Housing Executive is one of the lasting reforms that came from the civil rights movement. Before the Housing Executive was established public housing was mostly managed by local councils where only the ratepayer and their spouse could vote, this predominately discriminated against those from a Catholic background.’
She continued ‘Despite years of austerity the Housing Executive has managed to sustain attacks on its existence due in the main to its popularity with the population. When the minister initially made her statement regarding the Housing Executive the Workers’ Party flagged the fact that these proposals although filled with pomp had little to no substance and once the surface was scratched it would reveal plans to privatise.’
She concluded ‘The fact that the minister refers to mutuals and co-operatives which are in fact private sector bodies and that she clearly stated that the Housing Executive would be given access to the Financial Transaction Capital which is only available to private sector entities should leave no doubt that the minister is pushing the housing executive towards privatisation. The battle to save the Housing Executive must begin in earnest, each one of us has a duty to protect the Housing Executive and to demand that it is properly funded in order to build the social housing required and to carry out the repairs needed.’