COMMITTEE FOR FINANCE AND PERSONNEL
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY, 2 APRIL 2008
ROOM 152, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Present: Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (Chairperson)
Mervyn Storey MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Roy Beggs MLA
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Simon Hamilton MLA
Fra McCann MLA
Jennifer McCann MLA
Declan O’Loan MLA
Dawn Purvis MLA
Peter Weir MLA
In Attendance: Shane McAteer (Assembly Clerk)
Vivien Ireland (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Colin Jones (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Paula Sandford (Clerical Supervisor)
Mary Thompson (Clerical Officer)
Apologies: Adrian McQuillan MLA
The meeting commenced at 10.06 am in open session.
Apologies are detailed above.
2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 12 March 2008
Agreed: for publication on the Assembly website.
Agreed: that the briefings from Climate Change Coalition Northern Ireland, and the Sustainable Energy Association, along with the briefing on the Future Budget Process by Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) officials, will be recorded by Hansard and the final transcript published on the Assembly website.
3. Matters Arising
Members noted the outstanding requests for information from DFP.
4. Briefing from Climate Change Coalition Northern Ireland
Members were briefed by the following officials: Eithne McNulty, Regional Manager, Trocaire, NI; Dr Ian Humphreys, Operations Manager, Conservation Volunteers; Northern Ireland; Brian Scott, Chief Executive, Oxfam Ireland; and Declan Allison, Campaigner, Friends of the Earth. The session was recorded by Hansard.
Mr Weir left the meeting at 10.40 am.
Mr Storey left the meeting at 10.53 am.
Mr Weir returned to the meeting at 10.45 am.
Agreed: that the Climate Change Coalition Northern Ireland will provide a written submission in follow up to a number of the issues discussed with the Committee.
5. Briefing from Sustainable Energy Association on Mandatory Micro-Generation
Members were briefed by the following representatives from the Sustainable Energy Association: John Hardy, Secretary; Patrick Flynn, Board Member; and Gabriel McArdle, Board Member. The session was recorded by Hansard.
Mr Hamilton joined the meeting at 11.22 am.
Mr Storey returned to the meeting at 11.30 am.
Dr Farry left the meeting at 11.32 am.
Agreed: that the Sustainable Energy Association will provide a written submission in follow up to a number of the issues discussed with the Committee.
6. Report on the Executive’s Data Protection Review
The Committee was briefed by the following DFP officials: Bill McCluggage, Chief Information Officer, Northern Ireland Civil Service and Colin Cluney, Deputy Director (Acting), E-Government Policy.
Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 12.19 pm.
Mr Hamilton returned to the meeting at 12.25 pm.
Ms McCann left the meeting at 12.25 pm.
Agreed: that DFP will provide a report in early autumn on the outcome of the Data Handling Reassessment Exercise - April 2008.
7. Future Budget Process
The Committee was briefed by the following DFP officials: Richard Pengelly, Acting Budget Director, and Michael Daly, Head of Central Expenditure Division, DFP. The session was recorded by Hansard.
8. Subordinate Legislation
The Committee had previously considered the Department’s proposals for this statutory rule on 6 February 2008 and had sought that additional information on the financial impact be included in the explanatory memorandum, which was subsequently addressed by the Department.
The statutory rule had been included in the Twelfth Report of Session 2007/08 by the Examiner of Statutory Rules and no issues were raised from the Examiner’s technical scrutiny.
Question put and agreed: That the Committee for Finance and Personnel has considered The Rate Relief (Qualifying Age) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008 and has no objection to the rule.
The Committee also noted SR 2008 No. 123: Pension Increase (Review) Order (Northern Ireland) 2008 which provides for increases in the rates of public services pensions. This order was subject to a laying requirement in the Assembly but not to any further proceedings.
The Committee noted the following correspondence:
- DFP: Local Income Tax - Scottish Consultation Paper;
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland: follow up to briefing on 5 March 2008;
- Agreed: that the response from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland will be published on the Assembly website.
- Executive’s Submission to the Varney Review of the Competitiveness of Northern Ireland;
- Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment: Submission to the Varney Review of the Competitiveness of Northern Ireland;
- Land and Property Services and Land Registers: follow up to briefing on 27 February 2008;
- Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment: submission on the Regional Innovation Strategy Draft Action Plan;
- Minister for Finance and Personnel: Industrial Derating - Final Report from the Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland: Alternative Revenue Raising Measures;
- DFP memorandum on the Fifth Report from the Public Accounts Committee Session 2007-2008: Tackling Public Sector Fraud;
- Committee for Education: Memorandum regarding Lisanelly Barracks, Omagh;
Agreed: to forward the correspondence to DFP for response.
- Northern Ireland Affairs Committee: Memorandum regarding Varney Review of Tax Policy in Northern Ireland;
- DFP: End Year Flexibility arrangements;
- DFP: Principal Civil Service (Amendment No. 2) Scheme (Northern Ireland) 2008;
- Minister for Finance and Personnel: Response to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (COFMDFM) Inquiry into Child Poverty; and
- Extract from Confederation of British Industry publication titled UK Business Tax: A compelling case for change – Executive summary and recommendations.
10. Committee Work Programme
Members considered the Committee work programme for the period up to summer recess.
Agreed: that next week’s DFP briefing session on the Review of Small Business Rate Relief will be held in closed session. The Department had requested this on the basis that the issue will not be considered by the Executive until later in the month.
Agreed: that the programme will be published on the Assembly website.
11. Any Other Business
Members noted relevant press articles relating to the work of the Committee.
12. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 10.00 am in Room 152, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.31 pm.