Committee Concerns Over Housing Executive Response

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 27 January 2011

Reference: SD 03/10/11

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Social Development heard detail today on the Northern Ireland Housing Executive’s (NIHE) response to the recent severe cold weather. Social Development Minister, Alex Attwood was at the Committee to outline NIHE’s response to the crisis. The Committee learned that some 22,000 NIHE homes were badly affected by the cold weather and the ensuing thaw in December and January.

Committee Chairperson, Simon Hamilton, MLA said: “The Committee was shocked by the sheer number of NIHE homes which suffered burst pipes or damaged boilers following the recent cold spell. Members could not understand how so many NIHE tenants could be affected and yet the impact on privately owned homes appeared to be considerably less. In this context the Committee welcomes the Minister’s Invest to Save initiative to reduce the likelihood of this happening again.

“Members were particularly angry at the breakdown in communication between the NIHE, its contractors and most importantly of all the tenants. We all felt that this simply is not good enough and NIHE must demonstrate a tangible improvement in its service. This point is crucial. The Committee is not interested in good intentions or promises. We will be pursuing this issue doggedly and will be demanding evidence that NIHE will provide a much improved service to its tenants in the event of future bad weather.”

The Social Development Committee’s review of the Housing Executive’s response is ongoing.

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