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Housing in the General Election Manifestos 2019

With the General Election due to take place on Thursday 12th December, we look at the main parties’ election manifestos and summarise the housing related commitments from each of these.

Alliance Party

The Alliance Party Election Manifesto 2019 “Demand Better”, sets out key commitments including:

Demand Better Work and Welfare

  • Extending the welfare mitigations for Northern Ireland and legislating to reclassify housing associations
  • Repealing UK wide welfare measures such as the bedroom tax, the two child limit and the six month rule
  • Ending the benefits cap and punitive sanctions scheme

Building an Integrated Society

  • Investment in housing and regeneration should be linked to ensuring space is accessible to everyone
  • Create a statutory duty on the Housing Executive to encourage, facilitate and protect mixed housing

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)

The DUP’s Manifesto “Let’s Get the UK Moving AGAIN” sets out a 12-point plan to deliver on the priorities of health, education, jobs, childcare and protecting the vulnerable. The commitments within the manifesto include:

Let’s Continue Protecting the Vulnerable

  • The DUP want an Assembly back to produce a new package based on expert advice and to end the ‘Cliff Edge’

Let’s Build Stronger Communities Again

  • Action to bolster social housing, new approaches to affordable housing and improving quality in the private let market

Valuing soldiers' service

  • A long-term plan for Army housing and maintenance of stock

People Before Profit

The People Before Profit Manifesto includes the following housing related commitments:

  • An end to attacks on welfare- welfare reform must be abolished, as well as punitive caps on welfare spending in the South
  • Housing as a Right, not a privilege- need an end to the erosion of social housing, and a massive programme of new homes to end the housing crisis in the North and South

Social Democratic and Labour Party

The SDLP Manifesto 2019 “Stop Boris, Stop Brexit” sets out a vision for a prosperous world class economy delivering equality and opportunity to all citizens of Northern Ireland. In particular, the manifesto commits to the following:


  • Introduce a new legislative duty on government departments to co-operate to tackle homelessness
  • Build at least 3,000 new social homes each year targeted at the areas in greatest need
  • It is important that social housing providers are given full support to ensure that more new housing is built in the areas of greatest need
  • Reclassification of housing association debt is vital to ensuring the full financial strength of associations is harnessed to build more homes
  • Affordable housing schemes should be expanded to give more first time buyers the chance to own their own home
  • The SDLP will work to see the creation of more shared housing schemes, more mixed developments to include social, affordable and private homes and reform of common selection and regulation of the private rented sector

Social Security

  • Tackling poverty and empowering citizens will be a key priority for the SDLP
  • SDLP will vote to strengthen and extend mitigations for another 4 years with a commitment to redistribute any underspend towards tackling poverty


  • SDLP will support positive housing decisions and prioritise spending on social housing and new build programmes
  • Introduce a duty of co-operation on Government departments to tackle homelessness

Sinn Féin

The Sinn Féin Manifesto 2019 “Time for Irish Unity” focuses mainly on Brexit and Irish Unity, however states that Sinn Féin are working towards a new Assembly and a new kind of politics. Their commitment includes the restoration of an Assembly that works for everyone, and that adequately delivers on issues like welfare mitigations.

Ulster Unionist Party

The Ulster Unionist Party’s 2019 Manifesto “Northern Ireland Needs Change, Let’s Change Together” includes 10 priorities, two of which include housing related commitments:

Supporting Communities

Safe, affordable and sustainable homes

  • Make it mandatory for properties, with a reasonable expectation of habitation, to meet a minimum EPC rating
  • Support major structural reform of social housing provision, including splitting the landlord function away from the Housing Executive
  • Legislate to reclassify housing associations
  • Introduce a cross departmental duty to prevent homelessness on statutory services

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This article was written on 5 December 2019. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.