Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Thursday, 06 October 2011
The meeting began at 10.35am in closed session.
1. October Monitoring Round
DETI officials joined the meeting at 10.35am.
Members received an oral briefing from Colin Lewis, Head of Management Services Group, Trevor Cooper, Head of Finance Division, DETI and Mel Chittock, Managing Director, Invest NI, Corporate Services.
Daithí McKay joined the meeting at 10.42am.
Alasdair McDonnell joined the meeting at 10.46am.
2. October Monitoring Round
The meeting moved into public session at 11.10am.
Members received an oral briefing from Colin Lewis, Head of Management Services Group, Trevor Cooper, Head of Finance Division, DETI and Mel Chittock, Acting Managing Director, Invest NI, Corporate Services. Key issues discussed included Invest NI’s reduced requirements, the current economic climate and help to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Agreed: Officials to provide details of how they are trying to restructure the Short Term Employment Scheme.
Stephen Moutray left the meeting at 11.33am.
David McIlveen left the meeting at 11.33am.
Agreed: Officials to share the predicted models for the DETI budget (and in particular for Invest NI and future projects) and draw down of funding from the budget and how this will pan out in the next 5 years.
Stephen Moutray returned to the meeting at 11.52am.
Gordon Dunne joined the meeting at 11.55am.
Agreed: Officials to provide details of Invest NI’s letters of offer that are currently live.
DETI officials left the meeting at 12.00pm
Apologies were received from Sue Ramsey.
4. Minutes of meeting held on 29 September 2011
Agreed: The draft minutes of the meeting on 29 September were agreed.
5. Chairperson’s Business
Members discussed the suggestion of appointing a rapporteur to assist with the Committee’s Inquiry into Research and Development.
Agreed: Robin Newton to be rapporteur for the inquiry.
Members considered a paper prepared by the Clerk outlining a suggested role for the rapporteur.
Agreed: Content for this Committee to use the Inquiry into Research and Development as a ‘pilot’ project with Robin Newton acting as rapporteur for the inquiry.
Agreed: Chair to put this to the Chairperson’s Liaison Group meeting on 18th October.
Agreed: To commission research into role of rapporteurs in other legislatures.
Agreed: To consider this research and the draft terms of reference at the meeting of 20 October.
Agreed: To receive a briefing from Assembly Research on the previously commissioned paper on research and development at the meeting on 27 October.
Agreed: Clerk to investigate the use of a specialist advisor and report back to the Committee at a future meeting.
Members noted that the Charge d’Affaires of the Argentine Republic will be in Belfast next week to look at possible investment in Northern Ireland.
Agreed: To host a lunch with the Charge d’Affaires next week on Tuesday 11 October in Parliament Buildings.
Members discussed the commissioned research into possible savings from conversion of domestic heating installations to renewable technologies.
Agreed: To request copies of consultation responses from the Department to help inform this research.
6. Matters Arising
Members noted a paper from the Department regarding the Committee’s supplementary queries on petroleum licensing in Fermanagh.
7. Consumer Council
Officials joined the meeting at 12.12pm.
Members received an oral briefing from Antoinette McKeown, Chief Executive and John French, Head of Energy, Consumer Council. Key issues discussed included the current energy regulatory framework, energy brokering and fuel poverty.
Alasdair McDonnell left the meeting at 12.35pm.
Stephen Moutray left the meeting at 12.47pm.
Mike Nesbitt left the meeting at 12.52pm.
Officials left the meeting at 12.57pm.
8. SL1 – Debt Relief Orders (Designation of Competent Authorities) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011
Members considered a proposal for subordinate legislation from the Department.
Agreed: That the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment has considered DETI’s proposal for subordinate legislation under the Debt Relief Orders (Designation of Competent Authorities) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 and has no objection to the policy implications of the proposed legislation at this stage.”
9. SL1: Insolvency (Fees) (Amendment No.2) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011– affirmative resolution; SL1 Insolvency (Deposits) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011 and SL1 Insolvency Practitioners and Insolvency Account (Fees) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011
Members considered proposals for subordinate legislation from the Department.
Agreed: To receive clarification on the proposals contained in the subordinate legislation and to receive a briefing from the Department on the level of fees and reasoning for the levels of the fees.
Agreed: To write to Citizens’ Advice Bureau to seek the organisation’s views and comments on the proposals.
10. Presbyterian Mutual Society (PMS) and PMS Ministerial Working Group: Written briefing
Members noted the written briefing.
Members noted the following items of correspondence:
- Correspondence from the Committee for Social Development regarding an event on Fuel Poverty in Parliament Buildings on Wednesday, 16 November.
Agreed: To suggest that the Committee for Social Development consider inviting the Utility Regulator, officials from DETI’s Energy Division, the Consumer Council, Firmus Energy and Phoenix Gas to the event.
- Correspondence from the Committee for the Environment regarding the North-South Interconnector.
Agreed: To forward it to the Department for a response.
- Correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding an event on the Public Expenditure System in the Long Gallery on Tuesday, 18 October at 12:45pm.
- Update from DETI on the Next Generation Broadband Project.
- DETI submission to the Select Committee Inquiry into Marine Energy.
- Invitation from the Federation of Small Business (FSB) to the Future Students of Business Awards on Thursday, 27 October (in the afternoon).
- Correspondence from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) requesting to brief the Committee on the findings of its study into off grid energy markets.
Agreed: To invite officials from OFT to provide an oral briefing on this issue at the meeting on 27 October.
- Response from the Department to the Committee for Environment regarding reducing departmental energy usage.
Agreed: To forward the correspondence to the Committee for Environment.
- Letter from Patsy McGlone MLA (writing as Chairperson of the all- party working group on construction) requesting the Committee’s comments regarding problems faced by the construction sector in relation to procurement, delays in capital spending projects, movement on the Green New Deal and development of a long term economic strategy.
Agreed: Clerk to draft a response for consideration at next week’s meeting.
12. Any other business
Members discussed an oral briefing from the Green New Deal.
Agreed: To invite the Green New Deal Group to provide an oral briefing at the meeting of 13 October.
Members discussed a BIS consultation on removing NI’s assisted area status (selective financial assistance).
Agreed: To invite DETI officials to provide an oral briefing on the issue at next week’s meeting.
13. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting of the Committee will take place on Thursday 13 October at 10.30am, Room 30, Parliament Buildings.
The Chair adjourned the meeting at 1.05pm.
Mr Alban Maginness
Chair, Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment
13 October 2011