Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Thursday, 07 February 2013

Venue: Room 30

The meeting began at 10.05am in public session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Chairperson’s Business

Members noted an invitation to the Chairperson from Queen’s University Belfast to attend the launch of the new Institute for Global Food Security.

3. Minutes of meeting held on 31st January 2013.

Members considered the draft minutes of the 24 January 2013.

Minutes were agreed. 

4. Matters Arising

Members considered a response from the Department which included the Electricity Market Reform seminar, an analysis of the small scale Feed-In Tariff study and an update on the renewable heating incentive.

Agreed: to receive the total number of applications to date and a breakdown of the areas which have been targeted.

Members noted a response from the Department for Finance and Personnel regarding the implementation of the budget exchange scheme.

Members considered a response from the Department regarding redundancies at FG Wilson, the Executive’s Economy and Jobs Initiative and the Department’s Programme for Government Plans.

Agreed: Department to include date of request for information in all responses.

Robin Newton left the meeting at 10.18am

Agreed: to receive clarification from the Department as to what the Government in RoI is not doing and that the Executive is doing in order to access the Globalisation Adjustment Fund.

Robin Newton returned to the meeting at 10.19am

Members considered a response from the Department regarding the individual targets on which the Chief Executive of Invest NI performance related pay was based.

Agreed: to clarify for the Department that the request is for the list of 49 individual performance targets and not the actual performance of the CEO.

Members noted information received from the Public Accounts Committee regarding its scheduled evidence session with DETI and Invest NI in relation to the NIAO report “Invest NI: A Performance Review”.

Agreed: to forward the response from the Department regarding the CEO performance targets to the PAC.

Members noted a response from the Department on the Strategy and Plan for Energy 2050.

Members considered a suggestion from the Business Office to make a slight amendment to the Committee motion on the sustainable energy sector.

Agreed: Members agreed the new wording of the Committee motion.

Stephen Moutray left the meeting at 10.20am

Members discussed the arrangements regarding a future oral briefing from the Department and the Utility Regulator.

The Chairperson informed Members that a number of responses regarding the Small Business Research Initiative have been received from Committees over the last few weeks.

Agreed: to forward the responses to the Department for information.

Members discussed travel arrangements regarding the Committee visit to Bombardier and Harland and Wolff.

Agreed: to book a bus for the visit to Bombardier and Harland and Wolff.

5. The Rising Cost of Food:– Oral Briefing from the Consumer Council Northern Ireland

Representatives joined the meeting at 10.22am

Members received an oral briefing from Antoinette McKeown, Chief Executive, Consumer Council Northern Ireland and Aodhan O’Donnell, Director of Policy, Consumer Council Northern Ireland.

Stephen Moutray returned to the meeting at 10.27am

Key issues discussed included: the rising cost of food and household goods, the varying costs of fuel at supermarkets and the process of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Phil Flanagan joined the meeting at 11.05am

Sue Ramsey left the meeting at 11.30am

Agreed: to receive a three month analysis from the Consumer Council on supermarkets’ fuel prices.

Agreed: to receive a written briefing regarding the Financial Services Authority’s review of the Ulster Bank.

Agreed: to receive from the Department written briefing on what it is doing regarding the EU proposals on alternative dispute resolution (ADR.

6. The Work of the Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce and the Economy: - Oral Briefing from Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

Representatives joined the meeting at 11.35m.

Robin Newton declared an interest as a Belfast City Councillor.

Members received an oral briefing from Mr Joe Jordan, President, Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce and Mr Paul McMahon, Vice-President, Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

Key issues discussed included: the economy of Belfast City Centre, the impact of the flag protests on the Belfast City Economy and the potential impact of the Peddlers Act.

Steven Agnew declared an interest regarding his Father’s occupation as a taxi driver.

Agreed: to receive a written briefing from BTEC regarding the key issues discussed.

Agreed: to receive information from BTEC regarding the Pedlars Act.

7. Green Jobs Initiative: - Written Briefing from Northern Ireland Assembly Research

The Committee noted a paper from Assembly Research which addressed a query raised during the Committee’s discussion on the previous research on this topic.

Agreed: to commission further research into what the public estate in general is doing to install renewable energy.

8. Offshore Renewable Energy Bill: - Written Briefing from the Department

The Committee noted an explanation by the Department on why it has been decided to bring forward all offshore renewable energy issues requiring legislation as a single, focussed consultation.

9. Update on the Regional Start Initiative and the Business Start Programme: - Written briefing from the Department

The Committee considered a written briefing from the Department which explained the background to Invest NI’s business start service; the updated position on a previous legal challenge; and the current status of the new Regional Start Initiative.

Agreed: To receive details of the legal costs regarding the tendering for the Business Start Programme.

10. Correspondence

Members noted the following items of correspondence for action

i. From the Department of Finance and Personnel regarding financial forecasting data.

Members noted the following items of correspondence

ii. From the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding the Outcome of 2012-13 January Monitoring Round and the Chancellor’s 2012 Autumn Statement.

11. Any other business

Members were informed that there will be an Invest NI question and answer event on Tuesday 26 February in the Long Gallery.

Agreed: to circulate further information to the Committee.

12. Date, time and place of next meeting.

The next meeting of the Committee will take place on 14th February at 10.00am in Room 30, Parliament Buildings.

The Chair adjourned the meeting at 12.40am

Mr Patsy McGlone
Chair, Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment
Thursday 14th February 2013

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