Mr Robin Swann, the UUP MLA for North Antrim, has challenged the DUP Department for Social Development Minister to support the further provision of additional social housing in Ballymena and Ballymoney following recent revelations.
Assemblyman Swann, who is also UUP Chief Whip, said: “There has been a lot of media attention into the provision of social housing in North Belfast, and I was surprised to hear the Minister say that the waiting times are longer in Ballymena and Ballymoney than in North Belfast.
“I am disappointed to learn after questioning the Minister further that the average waiting time for the allocation of social housing has increased from 21.1 months to 22.4 months between 2013 and 2014, or to put that simply the current average waiting time in Ballymena is just under 2 years, the full development of Saint Patricks Barracks must now be a priority for the Minister and the must push the DUP/SF Office of the First and Deputy First Minister to release the site. The Ballymoney situation is not great either where the average waiting time for the allocation of social housing has increased from 11.1 months to 13.4 months between 2013 and 2014 and average increase of two months in the space of one year.
“The proposed changes that are contained in Welfare Reform, makes the provision of suitable new social housing a priority, as prior to any change our housing stock must be fit for purpose,” said Assemblyman Swann.