§ Mr. Trimble
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to his answer of 9 June,Official Report, column 109, what was the basis for the decision at his Office to refuse to accept all new preliminary applications after 28 February for housing grants other than applications for special grants and grants dealing with statutory notices; and when it is expected that the new renovation grants scheme will be introduced.
§ Mr. Atkins
It is anticipated that the new renovation grant scheme will come into operation on 1 October 1992.The suspension of the acceptance of new preliminary applications for grant is a matter for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive but the chairman has advised me that the decision was taken to enable those preliminary applications already in the pipeline to be processed to formal application stage, where possible, before the introduction of the new legislation, since from that date the executive will be statutorily debarred from accepting formal applications under the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1983. Grant applications approved or processed to468W the formal stage by that date can be paid under the 1983 order because transitional arrangements for these have been included in the proposed new legislation. The executive was conscious that, had it continued to accept preliminary applications it would have done so in the knowledge that applicants who may have incurred expenditure would not have been able to progress their applications to formal application stage by October 1992.