To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what increase in rents is proposed by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive; what reason has been given for this increase; what is its relation to the current rate of inflation; and if he will make a statement.
The Housing Executive's proposals for rental income in 1988–89 will be finalised as part of its annual budget which I expect to receive for approval at the end of February. However, the housing expenditure figures for 1988–89 which I announced in November last assumed that Housing Executive rents would rise by 9·2 per cent. from April 1988, subject to confirmation of a similar increase in England and Wales. This would maintain the recent policy of applying to Housing Executive rents the same increase, in percentage terms, as in England and Wales and would represent a rise of about 5 per cent. above the rate of inflation.