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Govt defends housing record in face of ‘shameless’ Opposition criticism

Photo by Johnny Bugeja

The Gibraltar Government has defended its housing record, saying it has provided hundreds of new homes and is building hundreds more.

It was reacting after the Opposition called for a review of housing policy after Action for Housing raised the plight of medical cases who were still waiting for rental flats while living in substandard accommodation.

The government acknowledged the situation of such applications but said it was unfair to “distort and belittle” its housing record, insisting it had made thousands of homes available during its time in office for both purchase and rental.

It pointed to developments including Beach View Terraces, Mons Calpe Mews, Charles Bruzon House and Sea Master Lodge, and to other such as Hassan Centenary Terraces under construction and Bob Peliza Mews and Chatham Views, which were close to full allocation.

“There are many instances when the beneficiaries of brand new rental or purchased accommodation release government flats which are then allocated to applicants on the housing waiting list,” No.6 Convent Place said.

“This is the policy that the government has defended at successive general elections and which has obtained the endorsement of the people of Gibraltar.”

“While there will always be deserving and rewarding cases, the physical limitations of Gibraltar means that it is impossible to meet the requirements of every applicant on the spot at the same time.”

“That is the reason why waiting lists exist.”

“Those waiting lists have always worked on a points system, with applicants awarded points on the basis of their individual and family circumstances.”

“There are separate medical and social lists.”

“It also needs to be understood that the number of people on the housing waiting list is a direct consequence of the policy of the government to grant equal rights to long-term residents by naturalising them.”

“The government stands by this policy which is line with its view on human rights and equality.”

“However, it is one things to have the right to be on a waiting list and quite another to demand to jump the queue and be housed immediately.”

The government said that “a special effort” was always made to assist those most in need.

It added that the proper repair and maintenance of private sector accommodation was the direct responsibility of the respective landlords and not of the government.

“In the meantime, the Opposition continues to shamelessly jump on every conceivable bandwagon, even when this exposes the sharp contradiction between what they say now and what they did in office,” it added.

“People will remember that the GSD, at a time when Mr Azopardi was a minister, did not lay a brick in ten years to house our people.”

“This is the worst kind of political hypocrisy that there can be.”

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