Privatization of the Housing Executive must be opposed, IRSP.
The recent announcement by Stormont’s Department for Social Development (DSD) that the Housing Executive is to be essentially privatized is a damming indictment on Stormont and its willingness to impose right wing socio- economic policies on the working class.
The private sector is not the answer to the housing crisis in the North .The more involved the private sector becomes with the social housing stock the more unaccountable landlords will become to their tenants.
The NIHE currently employs 2800 public sector workers; it has a social housing stock of 90000 homes and is an essential part of society north of the border the decision by the Department for Social Development to abolish the NIHE exposes the contradictions in the Stormont establishment. At a time when 38,120 are on the waiting list for social housing the establishment is set to abolish the vehicle that delivers this public service. Instead of investing in the NIHE Stormont is effectively washing its hands of the housing needs of the people.
The conditions do not exist to abolish the NIHE, sectarianism is still rampant and on the rise. There now are more “peace walls” dividing the Nationalist and Unionist working class areas of Belfast than at any time in the past. With the rise of sectarianism the IRSP believe it is a foolish move to abolish the entity that delivers housing on a secular basis.
The IRSP fear the NIHE workers may end up jobless in the stripping bare of essential public services. Alison Millar of NIPSA has called for clarity on the issue; she said “”There’s absolutely no reference in the ministerial statement that would allay the fears of the staff, the 2,800 staff currently employed by the Housing Executive,”. The IRSP support calls from NIPSA for clarity on the future of these jobs and calls on Trades Councils across the north to mobilize, along with all other progressive forces, in opposition to Stormonts plan to abolish the NIHE.