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British-Irish Council: Housing

Part of Ministerial Statement – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 10:45 am on 19th January 2016.

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Photo of Lord Maurice Morrow Lord Maurice Morrow DUP 10:45 am, 19th January 2016

I thank Mr McCrossan for his kind words too. This gives me an opportunity to wish him well, as he is one of the Members to recently come into the House. I trust that Mr McCrossan will enjoy his time working for his constituents here in the Assembly.

Where housing need here in Northern Ireland is concerned, when I was first a councillor, way back in the 1970s, if there were a couple of thousand on the housing waiting list, it was deemed to be totally unacceptable. I am aware that there are now in the region of 40,000 on the housing waiting list, which seems astronomical. Of those on the list, I suspect that at least 50% are in housing stress. Therefore, there is a real issue with housing. Indeed, those in housing stress are finding it very difficult to get housed. So, for those who do not come into that category, where, oh where will they be in the whole system? I have a real concern about that. I feel that that will be a big issue for the Assembly in the new mandate in particular, because this mandate has nearly expired.

Some great things are being done, and new homes are being provided. I know that there are difficulties, not least as a result of the global downturn, but I assure the Member that, just as he is concerned about Strabane and areas like that, I too have that concern for the whole of Northern Ireland. Thank you for your question.