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DUP pledge funds for shared housing projects days after party is criticised over response to UVF flags

Loyalist flags erected in the Global Crestent and Canterell Close a 'shared neighbourhood housing scheme area of east Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann.
Connla Young

THE DUP has indicated that some of the money secured from its deal with the Tory party could be spent on shared housing - days after the party was criticised for its response to UVF flags being put up in mixed areas.

Speaking on Monday after striking a deal at Westminster North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds appeared to hint that some of the cash secured would be spent on shared housing schemes.

It's believed that on top of the £1 billion of new money secured, there will be relaxed terms on the spending of £500 million already agreed for shared housing and education.

Recently the DUP has come under pressure over its response to the erection of UVF and other loyalist flags in the Global Crescent and Cantrell Close ‘shared neighbourhoods', off Ravenhill Avenue.

Global Crescent is a £13m development built by Fold Housing, now known as Radius Housing, as part of the Stormont Executive's Together Building United Communities (TBUC) strategy.

South Belfast MP Emma Little Pengelly last week came in for criticism after she claimed there was no widespread demand for the removal of UVF flags from the developments.

Speaking after details of the Tory/DUP pact was revealed Mr Dodds said the benefits of the cash injection and “the flexibility in and around the £500m for shared housing and education......is a very, very massive boost to the economy in Northern Ireland and will benefit everyone in Northern Ireland”.

“We were about the business of delivering for everyone in Northern Ireland and that’s what we have accomplished,” he told UTV.

However Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong voiced concerns about its commitment saying "shared housing didn't progress under the DUP's stewardship".

She added that integrated education did not get a mention and said she hoped the party did not intend to "roll back on previous commitments".

“Shared housing also didn’t progress under the DUP’s stewardship, with Paul Givan not even realising he had the Fresh Start money to spend," she said.

“We have asked for urgent clarification on this matter, both from the Department of Finance and Treasury.”

SDLP North Belfast MLA Nichola Mallon said: "The shortage of housing is a critical issue facing communities across the north".

"That's why we need functioning political institutions here to ensure that the financial package for Northern Ireland is targeted at areas, and those in need, not the parochial political priorities of the DUP as they prop up the Conservative government," she said.

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