Improvements to Housing Executive Homes put at Risk

Session: 2009/2010

Date: 26 November 2009

Reference: SD 07/09/10

Uncertainty in Housing Executive funding could lead to fewer improvements and poorer standards within HE homes. That’s the message that contractors to the Housing Executive delivered today as they gave evidence to the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Social Development Committee which oversees the work of the Department for Social Development.

The contractors provide kitchen, bathroom and other necessary improvements to Housing Executive homes and are based throughout Northern Ireland. They expressed their concerns at the effects an anticipated shortfall in Housing Executive funding may produce, including redundancies and a poorer standard in Housing Executive homes.

Simon Hamilton MLA, Chairperson of the Committee, said: “The Social Development Committee wants to see better housing across all tenures and in all areas of Northern Ireland. The maintenance and improvement programmes operated by the Housing Executive are critical to the continuing drive to bring all social housing up to the Decent Homes Standard. The Committee wants to see this improved quality standard in existing housing as well as providing more new social houses.

“The Committee understood that following a £20m additional allocation to DSD in June, these contractors would be undertaking a further £20m worth of much-needed improvement work in Housing Executive homes. The Committee accepts the difficult funding position for housing but we were alarmed that the promised expenditure wasn’t being released quickly enough.”

He continued: “We very much welcome the apparent allocation of a further £6m although we would point out that it is still shy of the promised £20m. Clearly contractors need much more certainty about future funding. The Committee believes that the programme for new social housing must be sensibly balanced against this need for better quality in existing homes.”

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