Northern Ireland Assembly Flax Flower Logo


Present: Ms Jennifer McCann MLA (Chairperson)
Dr Stephen Farry MLA
Mr Simon Hamilton MLA
Mr Mitchel McLaughlin MLA
Mr David McNarry MLA
Mr Adrian McQuillan MLA
Mr Declan O’Loan MLA
Mr Ian Paisley Jnr MLA

In Attendance: Mr Shane McAteer (Assembly Clerk)
Miss Karen Jardine (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mrs Kathy O’Hanlon (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mr David McKee (Clerical Supervisor)
Mr Kevin Marks (Clerical Officer)

Apologies: Mr Peter Weir (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Fra McCann MLA
Ms Dawn Purvis MLA

The meeting commenced at 10.07am in open session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

Agreed: that the evidence session with Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) officials on the Budget (No.2) Bill 2010 is recorded by Hansard, and the Official Report published on the website.

2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 3 February 2010

Agreed: that the minutes be published on the Assembly website.

Mr McNarry left the meeting at 10.08am.

3. Matters Arising

The Committee noted the composite request for information from DFP which provided an update on any matters arising not covered elsewhere on the agenda.

The Committee noted that its Report on the Review of the 2010-11 Spending Plans for NI Departments will be available by the end of the week.

The Committee agreed to defer its discussion on the draft letter to all Assembly statutory committees on additional support for carers until a later stage in the meeting.

4. Correspondence

The Committee agreed that agenda item 6 would be considered next.

The Committee noted the following correspondence:

5. The Case for a Reduced Rate of Corporation Tax in NI (Briefing from NI Economic Reform Group)

The Committee took evidence from Mike Smyth, Head of Economics, University of Ulster, Jordanstown; Eamonn Donaghy, Head of Tax, KPMG; and Sir George Quigley, Chairman, Bombardier-Shorts, on the NI Economic Reform Group’s recent report on the Case for a Reduced Rate of Corporation Tax in NI.

Mr McQuillan joined the meeting at 10.25am.

Mr Hamilton joined the meeting at 10.29am.

Mr McNarry returned to the meeting at 10.46am.

Mr McQuillan left the meeting at 10.47am.

Mr McQuillan returned to the meeting at 10.52am.

Mr McLaughlin left the meeting at 11.22am.

Mr McLaughlin returned to the meeting at 10.26am.

Dr Farry left the meeting at 11.29am.

Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 11.43am.

Dr Farry returned to the meeting at 11.49am.

Mr Hamilton returned to the meeting at 11.50am.

Mr McNarry left the meeting at 11.59am.

Agreed: the Committee will propose, via the Minister of Finance and Personnel, that the Executive, or an appropriate Executive sub-group, should meet with representatives from the NI Economic Reform Group to discuss the issues raised in its report.

Agreed: that Assembly Research will be asked to consider if further study is necessary in relation to this issue.

Agreed: the Committee will seek a copy of the forthcoming report from the Institute of Directors, which will include consideration of additional revenue raising options.

Agreed: the Committee will keep open the option of leading a cross-party presentation or Assembly debate on the case for a reduced rate of corporation tax in NI.

6. Budget (No.2) Bill 2010 (Policing and Justice) (Evidence from DFP)

The Committee took evidence on the Budget (No. 2) Bill 2010 from the following DFP officials: Michael Daly, Head of Central Expenditure Division, Central Finance Group, and Brenda Shearer, Central Expenditure Division, Central Finance Group. The officials advised that the Bill will provide statutory authority for the public financing of the soon to be devolved policing and justice functions. The session was recorded by Hansard.

Members also considered correspondence from the Minister of Finance Personnel requesting the Committee’s approval to grant accelerated passage to the Budget (No. 2) Bill 2010. The Minister’s letter also outlined proposals to suspend specified Standing Orders to ensure the Bill passes through the Assembly and receives Royal Assent by the devolution of policing and justice powers on 12 April 2010.

Mr Paisley Jr joined the meeting at 12.20pm.

Mr McNarry returned to the meeting at 12.26pm.

Dr Farry left the meeting at 12.32pm.

Dr Farry returned to the meeting at 12.34pm.

Agreed: that the Committee for Finance and Personnel is satisfied that there has been appropriate consultation with it on the public financing of the devolution of policing and justice proposals contained in Budget (No. 2) Bill 2010, and is content to grant accelerated passage to the Bill in accordance with Standing Order 42(2), subject to confirmation from the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister that it is content with the relevant provisions in the Bill relating to that Department.

7. Matters Arising (continued)

The Committee considered the draft letter to other statutory committees, proposing the establishment of an Assembly ad hoc joint committee to undertake a strategic review of support for carers.

Agreed: members approved the draft letter, with one amendment.

8. Committee Work Programme

Agreed: that the current draft of the programme will be published on the Assembly website.

9. Any Other Business

The Chairperson confirmed that the press launch of the Small Business Rates Relief Scheme, which is being organised by the Federation of Small Businesses, will take place on Monday 15 March 2010 at 2.30pm on the steps of Parliament Buildings.

10. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 at 10.00 am in Room 135, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.40pm.

Jennifer McCann, Chairperson,
Committee for Finance and Personnel.
24 March 2010