Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Thursday, 01 December 2011

Venue: Invest NI

The meeting began at 10.45am in public session.

1.      Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2.      Minutes of meeting held on 24 November 2011

Members discussed the minutes of the meeting held on 24 November 2011. 

Agreed:  To make amendments to the section of the minutes regarding meeting papers from the Department not arriving in time and to reconsider the minutes at next week’s meeting.  

3.      Chairperson’s Business

Members discussed a Departmental response regarding the New Growth Loan Fund and a Departmental news release on the Fund.

Agreed: To receive an oral briefing on this issue in the New Year.

Members noted an invitation to the Chair from CBI to the opening of its new offices on Monday, 12 December 2011.

Members noted an invitation from the Assembly External Liaison Unit to the Chair and Deputy Chair to a meeting with the Turkish Ambassador on Tuesday, 13 December. 

Members noted that the Chair and Rapporteur for the Research and Development Inquiry, Robin Newton, met with Mark Lawler, visiting professor at Queen’s University Belfast regarding the Research and Development Inquiry.

4.      Matters Arising

Members noted a letter to the Chair from the Ulster Federation of Credit Unions on the regulation of credit unions in Northern Ireland.

Agreed: To forward this to the Department to ask what steps they are taking to extend the group membership provision to Northern Ireland.

Members noted next week’s meeting will be held at Ballymena Town Hall.

Agreed: To hire a bus for the visit.

5.      Invest NI Update

Alastair Hamilton joined the meeting at 10.57am.

Members received an oral briefing from Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive, Invest NI.  Key issues discussed included Invest NI’s half-year performance, the New Growth Loan Fund and how the current economic climate is affecting projects that require match-funding from companies.   

Gordon Dunne joined the meeting at 11.31am.

Alasdair McDonnell left the meeting at 11.35am.

Paul Frew left the meeting at 12.00pm.

Agreed:  To receive more information on whether money borrowed from the New Growth Loan Fund can be used by companies as match-funding for projects that have received Invest NI approval. 

Paul Frew returned to the meeting at 12.03pm.

Agreed:  To receive a breakdown by constituency in relation to  figures in the draft Programme for Government (PfG) 2011-2015 that state that, “Invest NI secured £2.6 billion in investment commitments; £487 million in annual salaries; promoted 15,565 new jobs; safeguarded 5,329 existing jobs and supported 8,267 new local business starts between 2007/08 and 2009/10.”

Agreed: To receive regular updates in relation to the number of jobs that are being retained within the required 6-month period by those businesses using the Jobs Fund to hire and employ staff. 

Agreed:  To receive a breakdown of the staff employed by Invest NI by location of employment and type of working contract. 

Mike Nesbitt left the meeting at 12.25pm.

Alastair Hamilton left the meeting at 12.27pm. 

6.      Tourism Signature Projects

NITB officials joined the meeting at 12.27pm.

Members received an oral briefing from Kathryn Thomson, Chief Operating Officer and Siobhan McCauley, Director of Product Development, NITB.  Key issues discussed included status of the Signature Projects, expected visitor numbers for the upcoming events in 2012 and potential for further tourism development in Northern Ireland.

Stephen Moutray left the meeting at 12.40pm.

Sue Ramsey left the meeting at 12.44pm.

NITB Officials left the meeting at 1.03am.

7.      SL1 The Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012

Stephen Agnew left the meeting at 1.04pm.

The Committee considered a proposal for subordinate legislation from DETI:

SL1: The Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Agreed: That the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment has considered DETI’s proposal for subordinate legislation under The Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and has no objection to the policy implications of the proposed legislation at this stage.

Stephen Agnew returned to the meeting at 1.07pm.

8.      Subordinate Legislation

The Committee considered the following subordinate legislation:

SR 2011/390 The Insolvency (Fees) (Amendment No.2) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011

The Committee noted that the Examiner of Statutory Rules had no points to raise by way of technical scrutiny in relation to the Rule.

Agreed: That the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment has considered SR 2011/390 The Insolvency (Fees) (Amendment No.2) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011 and recommends that it be affirmed by the Assembly.

SR 2011/391 The Insolvency (Deposits) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011.

The Committee noted that the Examiner of Statutory Rules had no points to raise by way of technical scrutiny in relation to the Rule.

Agreed: That the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment has considered SR 2011/391 The Insolvency (Deposits) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011 and has no objection to the Rule.

SR 2011/389 The Insolvency Practitioners and Insolvency Account (Fees) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011

The Committee noted that the Examiner of Statutory Rules had no points to raise by way of technical scrutiny in relation to the Rule.

Agreed: That the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment has considered SR 2011/389 The Insolvency Practitioners and Insolvency Account (Fees) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011 and has no objection to the Rule.

9.      Regional Innovation Strategic Action Plan (RISAP): Final Progress Report

Members discussed the written briefing.

Agreed: To write to the Minister to congratulate her on the success of the RISAP and the achievement of objectives.

Agreed: To suggest that, when the new Innovation R&D and Creativity Action Plan is issued, the Committee would like to see objectives which demonstrate clear outcomes and benefits including objectives, with annual targets, directly related to increasing the number of companies, the number of locally owned companies and the number of SMEs investing in R&D as well as objectives for increasing the overall spend on R&D in Northern Ireland.

10.    Draft Programme for Government 2011-15; Draft Investment Strategy; and Draft Economic Strategy

Members discussed the written briefings.

Agreed: To receive an oral briefing from the Department regarding the draft economic strategy at the meeting of 15 December.

11.    Hydraulic Fracturing

Members discussed the written briefing.

12.    Correspondence

Members noted the following items of correspondence:

  1. Correspondence from the Consumer Council on the Maxol Direct Debit Refund.

Agreed: To forward the information to the NI Oil Federation to obtain its views on the draft Customer Charter.

  1. a) Letter from the Minister to the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development on the agri-food sector.

b) Correspondence from the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development on the agri-food sector

Agreed: To forward the correspondence to the Department and for it to respond directly to the Agriculture Committee and copy it to this Committee.

  1. Correspondence to the Chair from Ulster GAA on the NITB Sponsorship Master Class event.

Agreed: To ask the Ulster GAA for further information and forward the correspondence to NITB for comment.

  1. Response from DETI on:

a)   Strategic Energy Framework – major projects

Agreed: To receive updates on the progress of the move to the European regional electricity market; in particular the appropriate changes to SEM.  

b)      Office of Fair Trading Study into Off-Grid Energy Markets.

      v.            Letter to the Chair from the Minister regarding 3rd Indicative Occupational Exposure Limit Values Directive.

    vi.            Correspondence from the Committee for Social Development on the Warm Homes Discount Scheme. 

  vii.            Letter to the Chair from Jim Nicholson MEP regarding Horizon 2020.

  1. Invitation from the NIAUR to its Annual Stakeholder Event on 15 December 2011.

    ix.            Correspondence from the Department of Environment regarding permitted development for microgeneration.

      x.            Correspondence from a member of the public requesting a copy of papers that was considered by the previous Committee regarding hydrocarbon licencing.

Agreed: Committee Office to access the papers and include in members papers for consideration at next week’s meeting.

13.    Any other business

There were no other items of business.

14.    Date, time and place of next meeting 

The next meeting of the Committee will take place on Thursday 8 December at 10.30am, Ballymena Town Hall.

The Chair adjourned the meeting at 1.33pm.

Mr Alban Maginness
Chair
Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment

 

8 December 2011

The meeting began at 10.32am in public session.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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