HC Deb 07 December 1978 vol 959 cc1599-600
4. Mr. Woodall

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether there is any further progress to report on the Belfast areas of need programme.

Mr. Carter

There has been significant progress. The Government recently announced a £1 million community development project for a 10-acre site in the Shankill area of West Belfast. On the industrial front, the first two neighbourhood business units are expected to be operational early in the new year. These units are specially designed to accommodate small businesses in areas affected by redevelopment.

The Belfast city council, the Belfast education and library board, the Eastern health and social services board and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive are making good progress with special Belfast areas of need programmes, which include provision of sports, recreation, community health and social service facilities, an educational programme, and special cleanup efforts.

Progress continues to be made on the schedule of projects to be financed from the initial £2 million allocation of United Kingdom inner city funds. To date, about 16 projects have been completed, and the remaining schemes will be completed in 1979.

Mr. Woodall

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that reply but, although I acknowledge that progress has been made, I should be glad to know whether the views of the ordinary man in the street have been sought in deciding the priorities. Further, have all the schemes come forward from public enterprise or has private enterprise come forward with any proposals?

Mr. Carter

On the last point, sadly, the vast majority—if not all—of the money which has been disbursed on these projects has been public money. We should like to see private money coming in and playing a part in the whole enterprise of revitalising the inner part of Belfast.

On the first point, every conceivable effort is made to ensure that the local community and all the community groups which proliferate in Belfast are made aware of what we intend and what we should like to do. Similarly, we listen to everything which they would like us to do.. Therefore, from the point of view of the man in the street, I think that we make every effort as a Government to carry everyone with us.