23 January 2004
COMMITTEE TO UNDERTAKE MORE SCRUTINY OF PREVIOUSLY DEVOLVED ISSUES
Initial Inquiry into Housing
The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has set up a sub-committee mainly to undertake inquiries into matters that previously fell within the remit of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The sub-committee plans to investigate a range of issues over the course of the coming months.
Mr Michael Mates MP, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, said: "As long as the Assembly remains suspended oversight of Northern Ireland issues must continue and we believe the best way of doing this is through a dedicated sub-committee".
Mr Tony Clarke, MP, will chair the sub-committee and all Members of the existing Northern Ireland Affairs Committee will be eligible to participate in inquiries. (For list of members, please see note at end of this press release).
The first inquiry by the sub-committee, which will begin work in February, will be an investigation into housing in Northern Ireland. The terms of reference of this inquiry will be published shortly.
Speaking about the inquiry Mr Clarke said: "At a time when the Northern Ireland economy is continuing to improve it is vital that the housing market is able to match the aspirations of all those living in Northern Ireland. My hope is that this inquiry will act as a litmus test of how the relevant agencies are responding to meet housing needs and identify what further work may need to be undertaken to improve Northern Ireland's housing stock."