§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about the recovery of arrears of rates and rents.412W
§ Mr. Concannon
My right hon. Friend announced on 29th January in a reply to a question by the hon. Member for Hemsworth (Mr. Woodall) the extension of procedures to recover rent and rates from tenants in receipt of social security benefits. This extension has been widely publicised throughout the Province. So far some 5,000 tenants have signed voluntary agreements with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to repay arrears of rent and rates. In addition there has been a substantial improvement in relation to arrears of rates owed by owner occupiers and tenants of privately owned houses. Some of these debtors have paid in full and others have made arrangements with the Department of Finance to pay off their arrears by instalments.