§ Mr. McGrady
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions have taken place about the allocation of funding to the Housing Executive to enable it to execute a programme to address increasing rural unfitness; and if the Government will allocate special funding to undertake a programme of rural rehabilitation.
§ Mr. Hanley
Rural housing unfitness is a complex problem largely confined to private owner-occupied properties. The means of tackling it is therefore through the renovation grants scheme and the executive's continuing grants programme which is targeted on those individuals and properties most in need. Funding for the executive's grants programme has been provided in response to its annual stategy review which supports its bid and is discussed as part of the public expenditure survey process.
The executive recently issued a consultative document "Leading the Way" as a means of reviewing its rural housing policies and has conducted an extensive series of meetings with various interested local groups. Following an analysis of the detailed responses to this exercise the executive will be presenting its proposals to the Department for further consideration and discussion.