Indeed. I need not underline that problem, which is unique to Northern Ireland.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has recently announced that the recipients of supplementary benefit who are persistently in default of payment of their rent will have their rent allowances paid direct to the executive. I shall certainly convey to my right hon. Friend the further suggestion made by the hon. Gentleman to see what can be done.
It may be of interest to the hon. Gentleman to know that the whole question of public debt—including rent arrears—was the subject of a review by Sir Derek Rayner. Sir Derek Rayner's recommendations are now before my right hon. Friend, who is considering them to see how they can best be introduced to deal with this difficult problem.
I hope that those remarks answer some of the matters raised by the hon. Gentleman. If I have not covered all of them. I shall speak to my right hon. Friend and to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary who has direct responsibility for the Housing Executive, and if the hon. Gentleman feels that it would be of value we can arrange a meeting to discuss these matters further.