HC Deb 20 May 2004 vol 421 c1215W
Mr. Beggs

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the decision was taken by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to develop two separate integrated sites for public sector housing; what criteria were used; whether further sites have been identified by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive for integrated communities; and if he will make a statement. [174093]

Mr. Spellar

Applicants for social housing have a choice of where they wish to live and there are a number of people who would prefer to live in an integrated housing environment. With less than 10 per cent. of social housing integrated, the choice of where to live for those people who prefer integration is greatly reduced compared to those living in segregated communities.

The Housing Executive Board, at its meeting in September 2003, agreed that proposals should be brought forward for two integrated housing pilot projects which would enable the Housing Executive, and others, to test the policy and procedural implications of integrated housing.

The proposals are at an early stage and locations for the pilot projects have still to be identified. There are no proposals for further pilots.

The criteria to be used for developing the two pilot projects will facilitate and encourage integrated housing as far as this is practicable, desirable and safe. It will take into consideration local letting policies, sustainability of the schemes, plans to involve stakeholders and strategic and operational structures.

The proposals reflect the Housing Executive's and other public bodies' responsibilities under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 which deal with the promotion of equality of opportunity and good relations.