Urban Regeneration Cuts: Mid Ulster

Oral Answers to Questions — Social Development – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 27th April 2015.

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Photo of Ian Milne Ian Milne Sinn Féin 3:15 pm, 27th April 2015

T3. Mr Milne asked the Minister for Social Development to outline the criteria that were used to determine the reduction in DSD funding for urban regeneration, which resulted in Mid Ulster being the hardest hit, with a reduction of 25·24%. (AQT 2413/11-15)

Photo of Mervyn Storey Mervyn Storey DUP

I thank the Member for his question. I go back to the comments that I made earlier about the amount of money given to us. He has to appreciate that what we had given to us was a reduction in the overall amount that we had previously and that that was going to have a particular impact on the roll-out of neighbourhood renewal. Indeed, if we had had agreement from his party to having the issue rolled out on 1 April, it would have been local councils dealing with it, as opposed to my Department. However, failure to get agreement on that and his party not trusting its own councillors to administer it are issues that Sinn Féin has to explain to its elected representatives.

The rationale that we used was to look at areas that were outside the scope of neighbourhood renewal, at whether the process had given value for money and at the way in which the project might have been time-bound. As a result, some projects did not continue, because the funding allocation was coming to an end.

Photo of Ian Milne Ian Milne Sinn Féin

Go raibh maith agat, a LeasCheann Comhairle. Mo bhuíochas leis an Aire go dtí seo. I thank the Minister for his answer. Given that he has stated that the regeneration of Magherafelt town centre is an ongoing commitment of his Department, can he outline what impact the substantial cut will have on future progress in that regard?

Photo of Mervyn Storey Mervyn Storey DUP

I thank the Member for his question. I have met representatives from the Magherafelt area and from the new council, and I do not believe that we will see any long-term disadvantage to the amount of money being allocated, because I think that the new council will endeavour to ensure that the money is spent in a way that gives us a good outcome in Magherafelt, and in other areas within the new council boundaries.