The Northern Ireland Assembly election is due to take place on Thursday May 5. In the run-up to the election, political parties putting forward candidates will be publishing their manifestos. A manifesto is a document which sets out what policies a political party will seek to implement if their candidates are elected.
We at Homeless Connect, working with our members, developed a manifesto which sets out ten policies we believe would make a real difference in preventing and reducing homelessness here.
As each party publishes their manifesto, we will be profiling their commitments in the areas our manifesto covers.
On 31 March, the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) launched their election manifesto. Some sections of note include the following:
“A safe, warm, affordable house is a necessity of life, and the Ulster Unionist Party is committed to ensuring everybody in Northern Ireland has an appropriate, well-heated and affordable home.
Unfortunately, over 40,000 people in Northern Ireland are on the NI Housing Executive (NIHE) waiting list of whom 30,000 are in ‘housing stress’. Only approximately 2,000 social or affordable home are being built every year, nowhere near enough to fix this growing problem. Northern Ireland deserves better.
Ulster Unionists will:
- Strategically Reconfigure Housing Delivery – through the development of a robust but ambitious social housing strategy that will create the infrastructure to work towards delivering thousands of new social housing units per year
- Emphasise Housing in the Executive – we will make Housing a stand-alone issue in the new Programme for Government (PfG) and ensure multi-year budgets are agreed.
- Use Public Sector Land for Social Housing – suitable land and for housing development is scarce in Northern Ireland and we will mandate the Executive to have all government bodies and departments search their property portfolios for suitable, un-used land and buildings to release at cost price for social and affordable housing developments…
- Reform the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) – by separating its regulatory function from housing management and development. We believe the NIHE should be structured so that it can raise private sector finance leveraging its assets and rent roll. Monies raised can then be invested in upgrading existing stock and building new social and affordable housing, creating a virtuous circle. Additionally, we will launch a review of the current system of housing needs assessment by the NIHE to ensure there is a fair assessment of all areas and the real housing needs in each area.
- Build More Private Homes – Ulster Unionists will implement the recent Housing Strategy with an aim to build at least 9,500 private homes per year for the next 15 years. We will also enhance Co-Ownership Housing’s investment plans and press for a new category of Intermediate Rent of high quality, well managed, affordable homes for rent for tenants who cannot or do not wish to access home ownership.”