Saturday, June 25, 2005

Bruzon chastises Government over Housing record

Opposition spokesman on housing and social services Charles Bruzon has chastised the Government for their “abysmal” performance on housing.

In an impassioned delivery Mr Bruzon said he believed that the GSD (Gibraltar Social Democrats) Government had lots of good ideas but was failing in the implementation of them.

The affordable or rented housing had not materialised despite being promised since 1996, he said, although he accepted that Edinburgh House had been made available.

“The biggest social problem in Gibraltar today is social housing,” he said. The result, said Mr Bruzon is that many families in Gibraltar have been and still are suffering “unduly on account of the abysmal performance of the GSD administration.”

Mr Bruzon said he had had his eyes opened by desperate people who took him to their homes.

“The waiting lists are not getting any shorter, neither is there any substantial change in the number of people who are medically and socially categorised.

The very long delays being experienced by our people on the various waiting lists is unacceptable and causing great hardship right across the board, forcing many younger couples to move to Spain because there is yet no adequate housing here in Gibraltar.”

Mr Bruzon’s attack on the Government came in the wake of Chief Minister Peter Caruana's public admission on GBC (Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation) television that he had failed on the housing policy.

Mr Bruzon pointed to Government statements dating back to the 2002 budget where Jaime Netto had promised 500 new apartments.

He also referred to the interview where Mr Caruana had told television that housing could not be rushed if errors of the past were to be avoided. He has said Government was not going to be rushed.

“Rushed into it, Mr Speaker If he moves much slower, God help the people of Gibraltar,” said Mr Bruzon.

And, he said, that Bishop Canilla House had suffered from water penetration anyway.
Mr Bruzon said that the lack of low cost housing and government flats was the source of social problems and there was also a failure in not providing new homes suitably equipped for the disabled and their families.

“People living in cramped and overcrowded conditions can and does give rise to stress within the home.”

Alcohol and drug abuse were some of the results, he said.

There is, said Mr Bruzon, more anti-social behaviour and he had written numerous letters to the Government about the humanitarian cases he had encountered. “What I feel is lacking on the part of this government, and this is what people tell me, is real sensitivity and simple human compassion,” he said charging Government with a failure to live up to these values by not having made a bolder attempt to resolve the problem.

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