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Suspension of Housing Grant Inspections will be ‘Catastrophic’

16 January, 2008

Sinn Féin Newry and Armagh MLA Mickey Brady has said that the decision by the Housing Executive to suspend Housing Grant Payment Inspection appointments from the 16th of January will have a catastrophic impact on not only those in most need of having their homes and facilities brought up to an acceptable standard but on the local building trade.

Mr Brady said:

"The decision to suspend the inspection of homes applying for the Housing Grant will effectively close the system down.

"A huge number of our current Housing stock is ageing and in older dwellings resulting in a constant need for investment to deal with disrepair. There are still 24,000 unfit homes in the north and 58% of homes are in disrepair particularly in this area.

"Low income households are very dependent on these grants and this latest decision means that there is a strong likelihood that housing conditions for many low-income owners and tenants will deteriorate.

"People with disability make up over 18% of the population here. Disabled Facility Grants to support those with disabilities will also be impacted upon, resulting in a rapid deterioration in their quality of life.

"Instead of this catastrophic decision to suspend inspections there should be an increase in resources for improvement grant schemes to ensure that the problem of unfit housing can be tackled."

The Newry and Armagh MLA also highlight the dangerous possibility of job losses amongst the local building contractors who carried out these much needed renovations.

He added:

"A much needed source of income for these builders and Tradespersons will be lost. The Building trade is already under severe pressure. Now Housing Executive work, a valuable lifeline of much needed income, will be cut off. I have no doubt that there will be job losses as a result of these measures." ENDS

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