Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Thursday, 26 April 2012

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting began at 11.08am in public session.

1.      Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

The Chair welcomed Patsy McGlone to the Committee and thanked Dr Alasdair McDonnell for his contribution to the Committee over the past number of years.

2.      Minutes of meeting held on 19 April 2012

Agreed: The draft minutes of the meeting on 19 April were agreed.

3.      Chairperson’s Business

Members noted a news article on proposals from the Utility Regulator for potential drop in energy prices for consumers.

Members noted a news article regarding plans to help fund NIE’s £87million pension deficit.

Members noted a series of news articles regarding the cancellation of a business start-up service following a legal challenge.

Agreed: to find out if Invest NI will be issuing revised Terms of Reference for the new contract and timing for the process.

Agreed: to write to the Committee for Finance and Personnel to request an update on the implementation of the recommendations to the Inquiry into public procurement policy and practice in Northern Ireland.

Members noted an invitation to the Chair to attend Sainsbury’s reception at the Balmoral Show in the Kings Hall in May.

Members were informed that the Utility Regulator has launched a 13 week consultation on NIE T&D price control proposals.

Agreed: The Utility Regulator to brief the Committee on NIE Price Control proposals on 3rd May.

Agreed: To receive an oral briefing from NIE on the issue at a future meeting.

Members were reminded that on Tuesday 1 May this Committee and the Committee for Education are hosting a visit by members of Oireachtas Select Committee for Jobs, Social Protection and Education.

4.      Matters Arising

Members noted a letter from Phoenix Gas to the Committee who wish to seek legal advice before providing evidence to the Committee on the referral to the Competition Commission by the Utility Regulator.

Members noted an update from Assembly Research on the outstanding issue of transfer of registration of Northern Ireland Credit Unions.

Members noted letters from the Minister regarding outstanding recommendations and regarding support for a financial package to assist credit unions.

Members noted a letter from HM Treasury acknowledging a letter from the Committee on the 9 February outlining the concerns of Northern Ireland Credit Unions in anticipation of their transfer to FSA Regulations and a draft letter from the Chair to the Minister regarding the outstanding recommendations from the previous Committee’s inquiry.

Agreed: To issue the letter to the Minister

Members were reminded that the Committee is due to visit the new Visitors’ Centre at the Giant’s Causeway on the 14 June.

Agreed: For the Committee meeting to take place at the Causeway Hotel adjacent to the Visitors’ Centre and to hire transport from/to Parliament Buildings.

5.      Air Passenger Duty

Members discussed the consultation by the Committee for Finance and Personnel on Devolution of Air Passenger Duty with reference to relevant papers and a news article.

Agreed: To consider a draft response to the consultation at next week’s meeting.

Agreed: To seek an update from Invest NI on recent international visits and any evolving projects in relation to tourism and business.

6.      Correspondence

Members noted the following items of correspondence:

i. Letter from the Minister to the Chair regarding the proposed Textile Products (Labelling and Fibre Names) Regulations 2012.

ii. Information on a Private Member’s Bill consultation on a statutory duty to co-operate on children’s services.

iii. Letter from the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development to the Minister requiring information on the support the Department provides to the Agri Food Industry in Northern Ireland.

Agreed: To forward the letter to the Department and for the Department to respond directly to the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, copying to this Committee.

iv. Letter from the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety to the Department on actions currently being taken to address suicide and self-harm.

Agreed: to forward the letter to the Department and for the Department to respond directly to the Health Committee, copying to this Committee.

v. Response from the Department regarding Post Project Evaluations.

vi. Correspondence from the Committee of Finance and Personnel regarding the Review of 2013-14 and 2014-15 Budget Allocations.

vii. Correspondence from Castlereagh Borough Council regarding its Evolution Project.

Agreed: To schedule an oral briefing from the Council on the project.

viii. Invitation to members from CBI Northern Ireland and the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA) to a to a Venture Capital Networking evening on 3rd May 2012.

ix. Invitation from the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) to the launch of the Farm Safety Partnership on 1st May 2012.

x. Information on the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust briefing on Linking Business with the Social Enterprise Sector is on Tuesday 8 May in the Long Gallery.

xi. Invitation to members from the Roe Park Resort to the North West & North Coast Tourism Symposium: Our Time, Our Place on the 10 May.

xii. Invitation from the Minister to a conference to discuss marketing Northern Ireland overseas, boosting expertise and attracting foreign direct investment on the 2 May in the Long Gallery at 5.30pm.

7.      Carbon Levy: Manufacturing NI

Officials joined the meeting at 11.40am. 

Members received an oral briefing from Bryan Gray, Chief Executive, Con O’Neill, Chairman, Cecil McBurney, Board Member and Niall Irwin, Treasurer, Manufacturing Northern Ireland.

Key issues discussed included the differential in electricity prices between the RoI and the North as a result of the Carbon Revenue Levy.

Jennifer McCann left the meeting at 12.00pm. 

Stephen Agnew left the meeting at 12.31pm.

Paul Frew left the meeting at 12.32pm.

Officials left the meeting at 12.36pm.

Agreed: for the Chair and the Deputy Chair to meet with the Minister to seek an update on the issue and then report back to the Committee.

Daithí McKay left the meeting at 12.40pm.

Agreed: to forward the papers from Manufacturing NI to the Utility Regulator, the Oireachtas Select Committee and the Department for information.

8.      Any other business

There were no other items of business.

9.      Date, time and place of next meeting 

The next meeting of the Committee will take place on Thursday 3 May at 10.30am, Room 30, Parliament Buildings.

The Chair adjourned the meeting at 12.42pm.

Mr Alban Maginness
Chair
Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment
3 May 2012

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