MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY, 05 March 2008
Room 152, Parliament Buildings
Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (Chairperson) Mervyn Storey MLA (Deputy Chairperson )
Roy Beggs MLA
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Simon Hamilton MLA
Jennifer McCann MLA
Declan O’Loan MLA
Dawn Purvis MLA
Peter Weir MLA
Shane McAteer (Assembly Clerk)
Vivien Ireland (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Colin Jones (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Paula Sandford (Clerical Supervisor)
Mary Thompson (Clerical Officer)
The meeting commenced at 10.06 am in open session.
Ms Purvis joined the meeting at 10.07 am.
Draft Minutes of Proceedings 27 February 2008
Agreed: for publication on the Assembly website.
Agreed: that the evidence session with the representatives of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI) and the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) officials on the Varney Reviews will be recorded by Hansard and that the finalised transcript will be published on the Assembly’s website.
Members discussed their concerns arising from the issues raised during the evidence session with Land and Property Services on 27 February.
Agreed: that a further evidence session with Land and Property Services will be scheduled into the Committee work programme as soon as possible.
Members noted the outstanding requests for information from the Department and the response provided to the Committee on the February Monitoring Round.
Agreed: that the evidence session with DFP officials on the Report by the Capital Realisation Taskforce will be held in closed session as requested by DFP.
Evidence Session from Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland on the Next Steps on the Varney Report
Members were briefed by the following representatives from ICAI: Vincent Sheridan, President, Eamonn Donaghy, Chairperson of the Northern Ireland Tax Committee and Brian Keegan, Director of Tax on the Next Steps on the Varney report.
Mr Hamilton joined the meeting at 10.17 am.
Mr Weir joined the meeting at 10.20 am.
Agreed: that follow up issues will be forwarded to ICAI for written response.
DFP update on Varney Review of the Competitiveness of Northern Ireland
The Committee was briefed by the following DFP officials: Richard Pengelly, Acting Budget Director, Michael Brennan, Head of Strategic Policy Division and Peter Jakobsen, Principal Economist on the Varney Review of the competitiveness of Northern Ireland.
Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 11.12 am.
Mr Hamilton returned to the meeting at 11.18 am.
Ms McCann left the meeting at 11.22 am.
Mr Weir left the meeting at 11.25 am.
Dr Farry joined the meeting at 11.28 am.
Mr Weir returned to the meeting at 11.31 am.
Agreed: that a copy of DFP’s briefing paper will be circulated to other statutory committees for information as it relates to cross-cutting issues.
Agreed: that the Committee will take up Sir David Varney’s offer of oral evidence once the second review has been published.
Agreed:that a further request will be made to DFP for details of the Executive’s response to the outcome of the First Varney report.
Agreed: that the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee should be encouraged to pursue the ICAI’s proposal for an inquiry into the outcome of the First Varney review, which covered excepted matters pertaining to taxation. The Clerk will write to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee to convey this decision.
Assembly Bill Office Briefing: Committee Stage of a Bill
The Committee was briefed by Dennis Arnold, Bill Clerk on the process for a public Bill, including the Committee Stage.
Ms McCann returned to the meeting at 11.48 am.
Building Regulations (Amendment) Bill – Assembly Research Briefing
Mr Beggs declared an interest as a member of Carrickfergus Borough Council, Building Control Group Committee.
The Committee received a briefing from Jodie Carson, Assembly Research on the Building Regulations (Amendment) Bill.
Agreed: that the Committee Secretariat will provide a list of key stakeholders to approach for written and oral evidence sessions for consideration by the Committee at next week’s meeting.
The meeting continued in closed session at 12.05 pm.
Report of the Capital Realisation Taskforce
The Committee received an oral briefing from Richard Pengelly, Acting Budget Director, DFP and Michael Daly, Head of Central Expenditure Division, DFP on the report by the Capital Realisation Taskforce.
Mr Weir left the meeting at 12.12 pm.
Mr Weir returned to the meeting at 12.17 pm.
Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 12.34 pm.
Ms Purvis left the meeting at 12.35 pm.
The meeting continued in open session at 12.39 pm.
DFP update on February Monitoring Round Outcome
The Committee received an oral briefing from Richard Pengelly, Acting Budget Director, DFP and Michael Daly, Head of Central Expenditure Division, DFP on the outcome of the February Monitoring Round.
Agreed: that DFP will provide a paper on the current arrangements with Treasury for End Year Flexibility.
Mr Hamilton returned to the meeting at 12.57 pm.
The Committee noted the following correspondence:
- DFP memo regarding Clare House Post Occupancy Evaluation Report and Action Plan;
- DFP follow up to Committee queries on procurement;
- DFP response to the Sustainable Energy Association paper;
- Draft Northern Ireland Civil Service Employment Equality and Diversity Plan;
Agreed: to request a short report from the Department on the outcome of the ongoing consultation.
- Letter from DFP Minister regarding Financial Scrutiny and Budget Process;
- Letter from DFP Minister regarding Non Domestic Revaluation 2010 – Issuing of Forms of Return;
- Letterfrom Commissioner for Public Appointments regarding 2006/07 Annual Report; and
- Letter from the Chairperson of the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to the DFP Minister regarding the Child Poverty Inquiry.
Agreed : to forward the correspondence to DFP.
Committee Work Programme
Members considered the updated Committee work programme until Easter recess.
Agreed: that the revised work programme will be published on the Assembly website.
Any other Business
The Committee noted a press article ‘Business tax probe hanging in balance’, Belfast Telegraph Business Telegraph, Monday 3 March 2008.
Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 12 March 2008 at 10.00 am in Room 152, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.01 pm.