Ulster Unionist Assembly Member for South Belfast Michael McGimpsey has questioned the Minister for Social Development on what he intends to do to tackle pockets of multiple deprivation in Milltown, Belvoir and Newtownbreda Village.
The Assembly Member raised the issue during question time in the Assembly on Monday and follows his contribution to a recent adjournment debate on the area.
In a statement Mr McGimpsey said, “Belvoir, Milltown and parts of Newtownbreda Village have pockets of severe multiple deprivation. It is the most deprived ward in the whole of the Castlereagh Council area and is ranked eighty second in Northern Ireland. Deprivation is felt across a number of areas including health, education, employment, living environment and income. All of these impact on the quality of life of local residents of all ages.”
“Unfortunately despite the problem of deprivation the area does not qualify for intervention from the Department for Social Development as part of its neighbourhood renewal program. During the recent adjournment debate I had raised the issue with the Minister and called on him to intervene to ensure measures were taken to tackle the problem. I questioned him again during yesterday’s question time as to how he planned to address the pockets of deprivation in the area.”
“I am hoping to meet with the Minister in coming weeks to discuss the issue further and hopefully get more definite answers from him as to how he intends to confront and tackle deprivation in the area. He cannot be allowed to walk away from this problem. He and his Executive colleagues in Health, Employment and Learning and Education have a responsibility to the people of Belvoir, Milltown and Newtownbreda and I intend to keep pursuing the matter to ensure all that can be done is so as the people of the area can look forward to a better future for them and their children.”