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NI £20m boost for social housing

Social housing projects in Northern Ireland are getting a £20 million boost from Stormont funds in an attempt to support the construction industry.

Under the plans to reshuffle funding, finance minister Sammy Wilson has announced an additional £20 million which will be used to build more social housing and address housing problems in a “sensible and professional way”.

Sinn Fein MLA for North Belfast Carál Ní Chuilín welcomed the money saying: “I am delighted that the executive as a whole has not given up on this important matter in quite the same way as the minister, but has secured additional funding and made it available to Margaret Ritchie thereby ensuring she implements these necessary schemes.”

But social development Minister Margaret Ritchie was not as positive about the situation claiming the extra money would not be enough to fill the £100 million hole left in her budget by the fall in resources expected from poor house sales.

The announcement comes after the Social Democratic and Labour Party made repeated calls for a boost to social housing to help the construction sector through the recession.