The Government has provided hundreds of new homes for our people with hundreds more on the way. It is therefore unfair to distort and belittle such an impressive record in this area of public administration.
It will be recalled that the number of homes that this Government has made available is second to none. This includes thousands of homes both for purchase and homes for rental. The developments at Beach View Terraces, Mons Calpe Mews, Charles Bruzon House and Sea Master Lodge have met the needs of hundreds of families and senior citizens. The construction of Hassan Centenary Terraces is already under way with further residential developments at Bob Peliza Mews and Chatham Views close to full allocation. This is a record to be proud of.
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. 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. Nonetheless, as has already been explained, a special effort is always made to assist those most in need.
Moreover, it is relevant to bear in mind that the proper repair and maintenance of private sector accommodation is 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. 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.