asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has as to the cost in use of individual coal fires, as compared to the exising district heating schemes in the Sandy Row and lower Newtownards areas and the Sandy Row estate; and if he will make a statement.
As the answer contains a number of figures, I shall with permission, Mr. Speaker, arrange for it to be published in the Official Report.
I am grateful to the Minister for that information. Has he read the report of a survey carried out by people attached to the University of Ulster? That report was published last October on this very subject and shows comparisons between district heating schemes and individual units in the various estates. If he has read the report, will he consider the issue of value for money as between the comparable solid fuel district heating scheme and the individual units? Will he also consider the value to the tenants and the savings to the Housing Executive, because the card procedure for purchasing heat before it is used is economic and of value to everyone concerned?
Due to the overwhelming desire of the House to hear the figures, I shall give them now rather than circulate them. The comparative costs at Sandy Row are £8·30 for district heating and £5·06 for solid fuel heating. The figures for the Newtownards road are £8·40 compared to £6·08 and at Cromac £9·87 compared to £8·17. Therefore, the hon. Gentleman will understand that all these factors will be taken into account before we come to a decision.