For a supposedly dysfunctional political system, Northern Ireland’s government is certainly delivering concrete reforms and decisions which are transparently improving the lives of its citizens. From Alex Atwood’s Department of the Environment’s furious activity with approvals of major construction schemes where economic and employment considerations are paramount to Sammy Wilson’s Department of Finance and Personnel delivering a Northern Ireland house price index based on all transactions – cash and mortgage, and myriad other reforms in between, you have to admire the initiative and delivery, even if it is in the overall context of governance by majority consent without opposition.
Today Nelson McCausland’s Department for Social Development has today announced Northern Ireland’s first residential tenancy deposit protection scheme which will be launched on 1st April, 2013. There doesn’t appear to be a press release from the DSD yet, but the BBC provides us with some details of the scheme with comments from the Minister.
There will be four administrators of the scheme whereby renters will pay their deposit to the scheme which will then arbitrate any disputes at the end of the tenancy. A similar scheme is currently in operation in the rest of the UK.
Despite noises made by the Government here, despite widespread unhappiness on the part of tenants with difficulties with getting deposits back, what progress has been made this side of the Border with designing or implementing a deposit scheme?
Minister for the Environment Nelson McCausland gets an annual salary of GBP 80,902 (€93,692). Our super junior Minister for Housing, Jan O’Sullivan gets €147,247.