20/10/2008

5,250 New NI Homes 'Non-Negotiable', Says Minister

Housing Minister Margaret Ritchie has reaffirmed her commitment to providing more energy efficient social housing in Northern Ireland - stating plans to deliver 5,250 new homes in three years was 'non-negotiable'.

Addressing delegates at the Northern Ireland Housing Forum, the Minister outlined her department's Housing Agenda.

Ms Ritchie pledged that housing in the Province would remain her 'number one' priority.

The Minister assured the forum that she was addressing the problems associated with affordability and provided an update in relation to some of the key components of the New Housing Agenda, including the recent introduction of her new Procurement Strategy.

"Social housing will be more energy efficient and environmentally friendly as a result of my procurement strategy which will create efficiency savings of up to 10% and encourage improved quality in design and greater use of non traditional methods of construction," said Ms Ritchie.

The Minister said her priority is to increase the supply of housing and in her first year as Housing Minister she was able to do just that.

However, she made it clear that there was still much work to do that we must look to build on, year-on-year: "Whilst the targets set to deliver 5,250 new homes in the next three years are challenging, these are non-negotiable and will be met."

(PR)

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