Budget cut by 10% for housing department

  • The Northern Ireland government department responsible for housing has had its funding cut by nearly 10% in a budget.

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    The Department for Social Development (DSD), responsible for housing, has had its funding cut by almost 10% in a budget. The Northern Ireland government announced that the budget for 2015/16 will be £715m down from £790.3m, Inside Housing reports.

    Social housing sector figures had feared cuts more severe than those outlined in November's draft budget due to Stormont's need to find cash for a welfare reform mitigation fund.

    However, the social housing grant budget for 2015/16 will be £98m, the same as outlined in the draft budget in November.

    Although there were fears in the sector that the most vulnerable would suffer from the cuts, the budgets for the most vulnerable will be protected, including the £72m supporting people budget.

    The 89,000-home Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) will receive cuts of 10.7% (from £174.2 to £155.5m). A cut to the grant for co-ownership housing will mean that the number of homes will decrease from approximately 700 to 300.  

    Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations, Cameron Watt stated, ‘Overall it's a pretty good settlement for housing associations and their tenants. The reduction in budget was broadly as expected and 1,500 homes is still a significant social development programme.' He however described the cuts to co-ownership housing as ‘disappointing'.

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