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‘Rehousing deserving cases a priority’, Govt says

Pic: Johnny Bugeja

The Gibraltar Government yesterday said rehousing deserving cases remains a “priority,” but said the GSD is “not helping this delicate process with their continuous destructive approach.”
It also said that a “record” of over 4,000 homes will be provided for 4,000 families who will directly benefit from this Government’s housing policy while in office.
In its latest retort in the housing row, a spokesman for No.6 Convent Place said that instead of “distracting” those who are working hard to rehouse individuals “with baseless criticism,” the Opposition “should hold back and allow them to get on with it.”
“It is quite incredible that the Opposition have still not learnt the basic lesson that at times it is better to maintain a prudent silence on a particular matter than risk that the issue backfire in their faces,” the Government spokesman said in a statement.
“This is exactly what has happened when they jumped on the bandwagon of the housing waiting lists.”
“In their overriding eagerness, falling over themselves, to be critical of the Government, the Opposition have been exposed on two fronts.”
“First on their own abysmal record in Government and second on the discrimination that they presided over on housing allocation with regard to Gibraltar residents of Moroccan origin.”
The Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi, was accused of being “unfairly critical” of the current housing programme, while the Government said any delays to housing projects arose due to the Covid-19 global pandemic and lockdown.
It said: “The people of Gibraltar know full well that the Government will deliver on this housing commitment as we have done on so many already.”
“The fact is that the housing policy of the Government will lead to the construction of 2421 new residential units for purchase or rental by families or individuals in Gibraltar, of which over 1000 are already in place with residents enjoying their new homes.”
“A further 665 are under construction and 719 for purchase or rental are in the process of allocation.”
“This alone is a record to be proud of. However, importantly and in addition to those 2421 homes, the Government has also allocated over 1600 homes for rental since it came into office to people on the housing waiting list.”
“This will represent a record of over 4000 homes for 4000 families who have been the direct beneficiaries of the housing policy of the Government.”
The Government said it fully understands that there are deserving cases of individuals waiting to be housed, many of whom are in the private sector of accommodation with private landlords.
It said that dealing with these cases is a priority for staff at the Housing Department, and “assistance will always be provided where possible in a way which does not involve jumping the queue.”
“It is worth reminding Mr Azopardi that the only ones who dug themselves into a hole they could not get out of were the GSD,” the Government spokesman said, referring to the Theatre Royal project.
“Additionally the only Government in the history of Gibraltar not to have laid one brick of housing was the GSD Government which included Mr Azopardi between 1996 and 2003 - so it is a bit rich for him to try to now blame everyone else, from the AACR to the GSLP/Liberals for the failings of the government of which he was a member,” the Government spokesman added.
“Mr Azopardi needs to level with the people of Gibraltar and recognize that his failure to develop housing in government is matched only by his persistent failure to succeed in politics other than under the wing of Sir Peter Caruana who he later betrayed by the formation of the PDP.”
“That’s the reality.”

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