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British-Irish Council: Housing

Part of Ministerial Statement – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 10:30 am on 19th January 2016.

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Photo of Alex Maskey Alex Maskey Sinn Féin 10:30 am, 19th January 2016

Go raibh maith agat, a Cheann Comhairle. I also wish the Minister well in taking up his new role. I look forward to working with him, at least for the rest of this mandate, as the Chair of the Social Development Committee. Housing is obviously a key element of the work facing all of us in the Assembly, and, as I say, I wish the Minister well in his endeavours.

I appreciate that he was not at the work stream meeting, so I appreciate that he may not be able to give a full response to some of the questions that he is asked. First, it is important to acknowledge that there has been a very negative backdrop in recent years, because of, as the Minister mentioned, the global economy, the lack of capital funding for social housing provision in particular and a range of other negative factors, not least the quite significant number of people in negative equity.

It is also important to welcome the fact that innovative measures have been taken to address some of the issues, not least the Department's establishment of a task force for mortgage support.

Does the Minister know whether any of the Administrations at the work stream meeting considered the key role of each Government for the provision of enough capital funding to support the social housing market, given the acute housing need across these islands?