I am encouraged by the support I have received after negotiating the three key flexibilities in wefare reform, one of which was the availability of direct payment of housing benefit to landlords. I received the following letter from the chairman of the Landlords' Association for Northern Ireland:
Dear Minister McCausland
We congratulate you on your succesful negotiations with Lord Freud which has resulted in tailoring the way in which Universal Credit will be paid in northern Ireland.
As you are aware, of particular concern to us was the proposal to end the provision of direct payment of housing allowance to landlords: a change which we firmly believe would have led to a complete collapse of the rental market to social tenants, including the NI Housing Executive, Housing Associations and hostels, in addition to the private rented sector.
Our members greatly appreciate the effort you have made to make the changes possible; it is no small achievement.