I have been reviewing, in the light of the latest forecasts about population changes, housing conditions and the new powers in the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1976, how more effective action can be taken to tackle Northern Ireland's grave housing problems. The new building programme for the next five years is being re-examined and is likely to show lower targets for many districts.
I am determined that measures to deal with the housing crisis in Belfast should be given a much higher priority. I believe that substantial new programmes for renewal and improvement in the inner city are needed and am examining how our machinery for dealing with the housing and associated problems in Belfast can be strengthened. I have also been studying the severe handicap which sectarianism imposes in making greater progress in many areas. I plan over the coming months to open up a wide public debate which will involve all those interested in housing, including the political parties.