Communities Minister Paul Givan MLA and Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir MLA have responded to today’s announcement by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to reclassify Northern Ireland’s Housing Associations as public bodies.
Following the decision both Ministers reiterated their commitment to the social housing sector.
Minister Givan said: “Housing Associations make an invaluable contribution to the social housing sector in Northern Ireland and it is vital that they continue to do so. This is why the Finance Minister and I presented a joint paper at today’s Executive meeting, which they have approved, seeking a reversal of the ONS decision to reclassify NI Housing Associations, including amending legislation where appropriate.
“The Executive is committed to providing suitable homes for all and we will now work together to find the best way forward to allow investment to continue.”
Reacting to today’s decision, Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said: “Having a secure and stable social housing sector is a key cornerstone of our civic society. We need to take all measures necessary to ensure that the sector has stability to invest and grow. Today’s decision, if left unaddressed by the Executive, would change the budgeting rules and could result in an annual shortfall of almost £100million in relation to social and affordable housing. That’s why we plan to seek a derogation to prevent this. ”