§ 9. Mr. Molyneaux
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons in receipt of supplementary benefit have received, or are being considered for, loans from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive under the Small Dwellings (Northern Ireland) Act.
§ Mr. Peter Mills
The Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts do not apply to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to loans made under the provisions of the Housing Executive Act (Northern Ireland) 1971; to date, the executive has 629 not received an application from anyone in receipt of supplementary benefit.
§ Mr. Molyneaux
Is my hon. Friend aware that there have been cases of supplementary benefit being used to provide certain capital assets? Does not he agree that the financial resources of the Housing Executive might be more effectively used in the purchase of privately-owned homes whose occupants have been intimidated and pressurised by Republican neighbours on Housing Executive developments?
§ Mr. Mills
No. I must make clear that under the Housing Executive Act (Northern Ireland) there have been no applications for loans. My hon. Friend may be a little confused, in that loans are made under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts. That is an entirely different matter.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Chairman of the Housing Executive has stated that negotiations are going on with the administration in the North of Ireland concerning the purchase of homes that people have had to vacate for use by people of another section of the community? Can the Minister tell us anything about those negotiations?
§ Mr. Mills
No, I cannot say anything about those negotiations, but I can say that more than 300 applications have already been made under this scheme, and to date 75 loans have been made. The Housing Executive is doing a good job, and I feel sure that it must be encouraged in every way in these difficult circumstances.