Social Need Financial Package: Councils

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

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Cathal Ó hOisín Cathal Ó hOisín Sinn Féin 3:15 pm, 27th April 2015

T8. Mr Ó hOisín asked the Minister for Social Development what protections are in place to ensure that new councils will not be able to use the financial package provided to deal with social need for other purposes. (AQT 2418/11-15)

Photo of Mervyn Storey Mervyn Storey DUP

I thank the Member: he raises a valid point. The answer may lie with his colleagues on the Social Development Committee, who are currently looking at the Regeneration Bill. I await the outcome of the deliberations of the Committee. I have listened to some comments that have already been made to me about the definition or lack of definition of social need, and I think that we need to ensure that the title of the Bill is reflected in the activity of the council. The Bill is currently called and remains the Regeneration Bill, and there needs to be a focus on the aspects of regeneration that benefit society and community.

Photo of Cathal Ó hOisín Cathal Ó hOisín Sinn Féin 3:30 pm, 27th April 2015

Go raibh maith agat, a LeasCheann Comhairle. Gabhaim buíochas leis an Aire as an fhreagra sin. I thank the Minister for his answer. Can he tell us how, in the Regeneration Bill, he could best ring-fence funding for social need?

Photo of Mervyn Storey Mervyn Storey DUP

It could be done by setting down certain criteria and giving guidelines in the Bill or guidelines following as a result of the progress of the Bill. That would be the template that councils would be asked to use to ensure that the specific purpose for which money is given is the purpose for which it is used.

Photo of John Dallat John Dallat Social Democratic and Labour Party

Order. Time is up. Members will wish to take their ease —

Photo of Mike Nesbitt Mike Nesbitt UUP

On a point of order.

Photo of John Dallat John Dallat Social Democratic and Labour Party

Can I finish first, please? Members will take their ease while we change the Table. I will take the point of order.

Photo of Mike Nesbitt Mike Nesbitt UUP

I am very grateful to you. I would be grateful if you would review Hansard for the remarks by Mr Maskey in which, if I heard him correctly, he implied that at the Stormont House talks I said I would take the agreement and recommend it to my party executive. That is not true, and he knows it is not true. I am sure you would agree that we should use the Chamber respectfully and not as the set of 'Jackanory'.

Photo of John Dallat John Dallat Social Democratic and Labour Party

It seems the Member has clarified the point. Of course we can view Hansard; sometimes, though, it would be useful if Members who are not speaking would remain silent and then, perhaps, the person in the Chair might hear better what is going on.

(Mr Speaker in the Chair)