ASSEMBLY BUSINESS

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Thursday, 15 September 2011

Venue: 30

The meeting began at 10.38am in public session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Minutes of meeting held on 30 June 2011

Agreed: The draft minutes of the meeting on the 30 June were agreed.

3. Chairperson’s Business

Members considered a letter from the Consumer Council regarding energy issues and an energy brokering report.

Agreed: To receive the consumer focused report from the Consumer Council.

Agreed: To forward the energy brokering report to the Committee for Social Development for information.

Members noted a letter from the Minister to the Chair and press releases regarding the closure of the Social Economy Network (SEN).

Members considered a letter from the NI Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) regarding the 2011 Participation Awards.

Agreed: To write to the DETI Minister to encourage DETI to enter the awards.

Members noted an invitation to the Chair from the Construction Employers Federation (CEF) regarding the Construction Excellence Awards.

4. Register of Members’ Interests

Members considered the Register of Committee Members’ interests.

The Chair reminded members that all members are required to register relevant interests in relation to the Committee’s business.

The Chair asked members if they had any further interests to declare.

Mike Nesbitt declared an interest as an owner of a small wind turbine.

 5. Matters Arising

Members considered a letter from the Minister regarding the Department’s involvement in fuel poverty.

Agreed: To forward the letter to the Committee for Social Development and the Consumer Council for information.

6. NI Authority for Utility Regulation (NIAUR): Oral briefing

NIAUR officials joined the meeting at 10.45am.

Members received an oral briefing from Shane Lynch, Utility Regulator, Brian McHugh, Director of Gas and Tanya Wishart, Director of Electricity, NIAUR. Key issues discussed included gas and electricity tariff structures in NI, NIAUR’s strategic vision for regulation and the Strategic Energy Framework.

Robin Newton left the meeting at 11.08am.

NIAUR officials left the meeting at 11.48am.

7. Enterprise NI: Oral briefing

Enterprise NI officials joined the meeting at 11.50am.

Members received an oral briefing from Gordon Gough, CEO, Sandy Smith, Chairman, Dr Conor Patterson and Ken Nelson, Enterprise NI. Key issues discussed included Enterprise NI programmes, Local Enterprise Agencies (LEAs) and procurement.

The Deputy Chair assumed the chair at 12.22pm
The Chair left the meeting at 12.22pm.
Sue Ramsey left the meeting at 12.25pm.
Enterprise NI officials left the meeting at 12.33pm.
Mike Nesbitt left the meeting at 12.34pm.

Agreed: To write to the Department for Finance and Personnel to ask if the Central Procurement Directorate gave local enterprise agencies the appropriate/relevant information and advice in relation to the tendering process.

Agreed: To ask the Department why the procurement process was so delayed for the Go for It Programme contract award and to receive the timelines for the procurement process. 

Agreed: To ask the Department what plans are in place to ensure that the Go for It programme services are not halted or disrupted during the period in which legal proceedings may take place. 

8. SR 2011/247 Electricity (Published Criteria for Generating Station) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011

The Committee considered the following subordinate legislation:

SR 2011/247 Electricity (Published Criteria for Generating Station) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011

Agreed: That the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment has considered SR 2011/247 Electricity (Published Criteria for Generating Station) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 and has no objection to the Rule.

9. SR 2011/283 The Factories Act (Northern Ireland) 1965 and Office and Shop Premises Act (Northern Ireland) 1966 (Repeals and Modifications) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011

The Committee considered the following subordinate legislation:

SR 2011/283 The Factories Act (Northern Ireland) 1965 and Office and Shop Premises Act (Northern Ireland) 1966 (Repeals and Modifications) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011

Agreed: That the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment has considered SR 2011/283 The Factories Act (Northern Ireland) 1965 and Office and Shop Premises Act (Northern Ireland) 1966 (Repeals and Modifications) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 and has no objection to the Rule.

Stephen Moutray declared an interest as an owner of a retail business.

10. Renewable Energy Inquiry: Written briefing

Members discussed the written briefing.

Agreed: To hear from the Department on the SEF implementation plan earlier than the meeting of 24 November. 

Agreed: To receive information in relation to DETI’s planned study into best options for the introduction of a form of “energy supplier obligation” in NI and forward it to the Committee for Social Development when the reply is received. 

11. Credit Union Legislation Update: Written briefing

Members discussed the written briefing.

Agreed: To commission Assembly research to undertake research on the proposals to identify which of the recommendations from the previous Committee’s credit union inquiry the new arrangements will implement and which will remain outstanding.

Agreed: To ask the FSA/Treasury for a summary of consultation responses when they become available.

Agreed: To ask the Irish League of Credit Unions and the Ulster Federation of Credit Unions to copy their consultation responses to the Committee.

12. Common Arrangements for Gas (CAG): Written briefing

Members discussed the written briefing.

Agreed: To receive a timetable for the CAG Bill.

Agreed: To schedule an oral briefing from the Department on final policy proposals before the Committee Stage of the Bill.

13. Forward Work Programme

Members discussed a holding a meeting at InterTradeIreland’s offices in Newry.

Agreed: To hold a meeting at InterTradeIreland’s offices on 29 September.

Members discussed a visit to the Oireachtas to meet informally with the Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture.

Agreed: To schedule the visit on 10 November in lieu of a Committee meeting and for the Committee Office to investigate whether an informal meeting with the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade is also possible on the same day.

Members discussed an oral briefing session with the EU SME Envoy for the UK.

Agreed: To invite the Deputy Director, Mr David Wilson brief the Committee at the meeting of 17 November.

Agreed: To host an event in the Long Gallery on 17 November for SME representative bodies to meet Mr Wilson and discuss what the envoy can do for businesses in NI.

Agreed: To consider the list of potential invitees at next week’s meeting.

Members considered an invitation from Invest NI to hold a meeting at its headquarters.

Agreed: To hold a meeting at Invest NI’s headquarters on 1 December.

Members discussed holding a meeting at the Ballymena Borough Council.

Agreed: To hold a meeting at Ballymena Borough council on 8 December.

Members discussed visits to the NIE Emergency Response Centre in Craigavon, Almac, South Eastern Regional College and Bombardier.

Agreed: To schedule these visits during 2012.

Members discussed a visit to Brussels during the 2011-2012 session.

Agreed: Content to schedule that visit during Spring 2012.

Members discussed a possible inquiry into public sector gas uptake and noted that the Assembly Research Officer will provide a briefing at next week’s meeting regarding the findings from the research that the Committee commissioned during the previous session.

Agreed: Content with the draft work programme and to publish the programme on the Committee’s website.

14. Correspondence

 Members noted the following items of correspondence:

  1. Letter from the Minister to the Chair regarding:
    • The EU Third Energy Package
    • Proposed Amendments to the Hallmarking Act 1973.
  2. Letter from the Clerk to the OFMDFM Committee on actions arising from the European Issues event on 20 June.
  3. Response from DETI regarding:
    • The continuation of NI’s Assisted Area Status.

    Agreed: To request that the Department inform the Committee if and when the proposed consultation is brought forward.

    • The EU Public Consultation ‘A new European regime for Venture Capital’.
  4. Letter from the Clerk of the Committee for Finance and Personnel on the End Year Flexibility Scheme.
    Agreed: To forward this letter to the Department to ask how the Budget Exchange Scheme will impact on its work and how the proposal from the Minister for Finance & Personnel would impact on its work.
  5. Letter to Chair from Finlay Communications Ltd regarding the proposed loss of the BSKYB contract to Sierra Communications.
    Agreed: To consider this letter again at next week’s meeting.
  6. Letter to Clerk from the Met Office regarding the transfer of its offices from the Ministry of Defence to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.
  7. DETI 2010/11 Final Outturn Performance.
  8. Information for the Annual NI Economic Conference 2011.
  9. Invitation to Committee members to:
    • NITB’s ‘Our time, Our Place’ launch on 29 September.
    • The launch of the NI Knowledge Economy Index.
  10. Invitation from the Assembly’s External Liaison Unit to a lunch with the Ambassador of El Salvador on Tuesday, 20 September in Parliament Buildings.

15. Any other business

There were no other items of business.

16. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will take place on Thursday 22 September at 10.30am, Room 30, Parliament Buildings.

The Deputy Chair adjourned the meeting at 12.53pm.

Mr Alban Maginness
Chair
Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment
22 September 2011 

 

 

 

 

 

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