COMMITTEE FOR FINANCE AND PERSONNEL
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY, 9 APRIL 2008
ROOM 152, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Mervyn Storey MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Roy Beggs MLA
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Simon Hamilton MLA
Jennifer McCann MLA
Adrian McQuillan 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)
Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (Chairperson)
Fra McCann MLA
The meeting commenced at 10.03 am in open session.
Apologies are detailed above.
Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 2 April 2008
Agreed: for publication on the Assembly website.
Agreed : that Hansard will record the session with Land and Property Services (LPS) and the final transcript will be published on the Assembly website.
Mr Beggs joined the meeting at 10.04 am.
Members noted the outstanding requests for information from DFP.
Agreed : that a copy of the submission to the Committee by the Sustainable Energy Association will be forwarded to the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP).
Members noted that DFP had previously requested that the update on the review of small business rate relief be held in closed session, but has now advised that it should be open to the public.
Evidence Session on Building Regulations (Amendment) Bill (NI) 2008 – Building Control Northern Ireland
Mr Weir joined the meeting at 10.10 am.
Ms Purvis joined the meeting at 10.13 am.
Mr Beggs declared an interest as a representative of Carrickfergus Borough Council on the Northern Area Group Building Control Committee.
The Committee took evidence from the following officials: John Dumigan, Group Chief Building Control Officer, Southern Group Building Control; Donal Rogan, Building Control Manager, Belfast City Council; and Desmond Reid, Director of Building Control, Fermanagh District Council. The session was recorded by Hansard.
Agreed : that Building Control Northern Ireland’s submission and the final transcript of its oral evidence will be forwarded to DFP for comment.
Scrutiny of Land and Property Services
Members were briefed by the following officials: Leo O’Reilly, 2 nd Permanent Secretary, DFP; John Wilkinson, Chief Executive, Land and Property Services; and Arthur Scott, Director of Operations, Land and Property Services. The session was recorded by Hansard.
Agreed : that LPS officials will forward details of the organisation’s performance targets for 2008/09 and its forward operating plan for 2008 – 2011.
Agreed : that LPS officials will provide a written response to issues raised by members during the evidence session and to any further issues raised by the Committee.
Ms Purvis left the meeting at 12.30 pm.
DFP Update on Review of Small Business Rate Relief
The Committee was briefed by the following officials: Brian McClure, Head of Rating Policy Division, DFP; Patrick Neeson, Principal Economist, Rating Policy Unit, DFP; and Victor Hewitt, Director, Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland.
Agreed : that a response to the Minister will be drafted for consideration at the next meeting
The Committee considered SR 2008 No. 124: The Rate Relief (Lone Pensioner Allowance) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2008 and accompanying explanatory memorandum. Members noted that the Committee had previously considered DFP’s proposals for this statutory rule on 6 February 2008 and had been content with the policy implications of the proposed legislation. Members also noted that the Examiner of Statutory Rules had considered the rule and did not raise any points by way of technical scrutiny.
Question put and agreed: That the Committee for Finance and Personnel has considered SR 2008 No. 124: The Rate Relief (Lone Pensioner Allowance) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2008 and has no objection to the rule.
The Committee noted the following correspondence:
- Committee for the Office of the First and deputy First Minister: Assembly Research paper on the Public Authorities (Reform) Bill;
- DFP: Public Consultation on the Reduction of Maximum Capital Value;
- Minister of Finance and Personnel: Further Evaluation of Rate Relief Scheme for Persons in Full Time Education and Training;
- DFP: Investment Delivery Plan 2008 - 2018;
- DFP: Delivery Agreement for Public Service Agreement 20: Improving Public Services;
- DFP: response to Committee’s request for further information on DFP response to the Committee’s Report on the Executive’s Draft Budget 2008 - 2011;
Agreed : that the Minister’s correspondence will be copied to the Committees for Agriculture and Rural Development; Employment and Learning; and Health, Social Services and Public Safety respectively.
Agreed : that the response will be published on the Assembly’s website.
Committee Work Programme
Members considered the latest draft of the Committee work programme for the period up to summer recess. It was noted that the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors had requested a separate evidence session at next week’s meeting and, to ensure that the agenda is manageable, evidence sessions on the Building Regulations (Amendment) Bill would be restricted to thirty minutes. It was also noted that a briefing from the Northern Ireland Law Commission had been provisionally scheduled for 23 April.
Agreed : that the programme will be published on the Assembly website.
Any Other Business
In response to a query from Mr Hamilton, members noted that a briefing from DFP and the Special EU Programmes Body on progress relating to PEACE II closure and the distribution of PEACE III funding had been scheduled for 30 April.
Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 16 April 2008 at 10.00 am in Room 152, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.20 pm.