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Housing Executive must return to its original role

Dear Minister Attwood, given the latest damning Northern Ireland Audit Office report on the (in)activities, (un)viability and (un)accountability of housing |associations, it is clear that a |radical but sensible view is taken of the use of public and other |finances in the provision and maintenance of social housing.

The sell-off since the 1980s of NIHE stock (reduced to approximately 90,000 at this point from a starting point of 200,000) is a disgrace to both past direct rule administrations and the local Assembly since its formation.

The decision to allow only housing associations to provide new-build social housing is coming back to haunt your administration and the public purse. The proposal to transfer NIHE stock such as Rinnmore in Derry to these bodies is little more than blackmail of tenants and a clear breach of their human rights.

The cut in NIHE staff — particularly architects, quantity surveyors, clerks of works — and the higher-cost alternative of using consultants is a disgrace and is |resulting in the destruction of whole professions in the sector.

The report’s recommendations all point to the logical: return the administration and provision of social housing to a place which your own party was instrumental in creating — the Northern Ireland Housing Executive!

JIM OWENS

NIPSA Branch 501

Belfast Telegraph

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