The Government have not only abandoned their pledge to build rental housing, but have starkly pretended they never had a promise to start off with.
In a GBC interview the Minister for Housing Steven Linares has said “we have not committed ourselves to rental housing” pointing to the 2015 and 2019 manifestos and saying that the commitment was only to build rental housing for the elderly.
This is simply untrue and symptomatic of the fast and loose relationship that the GSLP/Liberals have with the truth and what they say to the electorate.
Page 137 of the GSLP/Liberal Election Manifesto for 2019 says:
“Our plans currently provide for almost 300 such units for rental by the elderly. We nonetheless accept that there is likely to be a need to build more rental stock for the Government. We have, for now, built rental stock only for the elderly. We will therefore look to construct more Government rental stock BOTH for the elderly and for the general housing list. We expect to build between 300 and 500 units for rental. This combination of property developments – alongside more affordable housing for 50/50 sale – will enable us to finally deal with the delays in the housing waiting list.”
Indeed in their 2011 manifesto they had also promised:
“Families need homes in which to prosper as a unit. We will therefore build more really high quality homes for rental and sale at truly affordable prices for all our people so that even Gibraltarians who have been living abroad for many years will be able to return to their home.”
Clearly the Government has failed to deliver as not one brick has been laid for rental housing for the general housing list in their time in government. To make it worse they are now pretending they never promised this in the first place! This is a stunning display of contempt for the people they serve.
Shadow Minister for Housing Damon Bossino MP added: “One thing is for a government to U-turn on a pledge which is, in itself, unacceptable but it is quite another to try and pretend that the pledge never existed in the first place when the contrary is demonstrably the case. The government cannot create an alternative reality which bears no resemblance to the truth, just because it suits them. The undeniable fact is that they did commit to build rental for housing.”