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Cuts will have 'devastating impact' on Northern Ireland

Politicians and social landlords in Northern Ireland have warned that the comprehensive spending review will have a ‘devastating impact’ on housing in the province.

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The Chartered Institute of Housing in Northern Ireland estimates that capital budgets could be threatened by up to 40 per cent. The CIH has made an offer to the government to deliver efficiency savings that would prevent a cut on this scale.

Grainia Long, CIH Northern Ireland director, said: ‘The housing sector in Northern Ireland is realistic about a level of pain ahead.

‘During the period of negotiations on the spending review outcomes in Northern Ireland we believe that the housing sector can make an offer to government to outperform in key areas of delivery in return for a reduced level of public investment that would prevent a 40 per cent cut.’

Social development minister Alex Attwood said he was seeking urgent meetings with welfare reform minister Lord Freud about the ‘shocking’ £7 billion of welfare cuts made in the review.

He said: ‘I have already arranged to meet welfare reform minister Lord Freud within the next ten days to discuss my concern that this announcement could mean hundreds of millions of benefit cuts in Northern Ireland. The need to protect those in disadvantage and the wide need to keep our society stable are not helped by that sort of proposal.’

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