Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Wednesday, 08 June 2011
Venue: Room 30
The meeting opened at 10.05am in public session.
There was one apology as recorded above.
Agreed: that the evidence session at Agenda item 4 is recorded by Hansard and the Official Report published on the website.
Agreed: that the evidence session at Agenda item 5 is held in closed session.
2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 1 June 2011
Agreed: that the minutes are published on the Assembly website.
3. Matters Arising
Requests for Information from the Department of Finance and Personnel
The Committee noted the table of requests for information from the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) which provided an update on any matters arising not covered elsewhere on the agenda.
Draft motion on Devolution of Corporation Tax Powers
Agreed: a draft motion for a plenary debate on the devolution of corporation tax powers, which will be co-sponsored by the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, subject to that committee’s agreement.
Departmental response to Committee’s Report on the Executives Draft Budget 2011-15
Members considered a DFP response to the recommendations in the predecessor Committee’s Report on the Executive’s Draft Budget 2011-15.
Agreed: to request that the Finance Minister champions agreed recommendations with the Executive as applicable, that they are considered within the work of the Executive’s Budget Review Group and that the Committee is kept up-to-date on progress made; to seek an update on any decisions pending for the Finance Minister; and to request confirmation of any assurances received from the new Irish Government that there will be no “fire sale” of NI assets held by NAMA.
The Committee agreed to take Correspondence as the next item of business.
Mr McQuillan joined the meeting at 10.15am.
Members noted the following items of correspondence:
- Committee for the Office of First Minister and deputy First Minister : Review of Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs).
Agreed: to request that DFP provides the Committee with details of all ALBs within the Department’s remit; the criteria for reviewing ALBs; and the full list of bodies included in the scope of the review, including clarification on whether a similar review will be undertaken for departmental Agencies.
- Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure: End Year Flexibility (EYF)replacement.
Agreed: to request that DFP provides information on the replacement scheme, including: background and rationale for the change; how the scheme will work in practice; and any implications for departments. The Committee will also request an update on any discussions with HM Treasury on this issue.
5. Legislative Consent Motion - Mutual Assistance Recovery Directive
The Committee took evidence from the following DFP officials: Mr Brian McClure, Head of Rating Policy Division, Central Finance Group, DFP; Dr Veronica Holland, Rating Policy Division, Central Finance Group, DFP. The session was recorded by Hansard.
Mr Hilditch joined the meeting at 10.25am.
Mr McQuillan left the meeting at 10.25am.
Mr Girvan joined the meeting at 10.27am.
Mr McQuillan returned to the meeting at 10.39am.
Agreed: that the DFP officials will provide additional information as requested during the evidence session.
Agreed: that the Committee supports DFP in seeking the Assembly’s endorsement of the extension to NI of the provisions of the Finance (No. 3) Bill, as amended at Committee Stage in the House of Commons, dealing with mutual assistance for recovery of taxes etc.
Agreed: that the Committee will consider a short, informal report on the proposed Legislative Consent Motion at its next meeting, for issue to all MLAs in advance of the plenary debate on 27 June 2011.
The meeting moved into closed session at 10.53am.
6. DFP consultation on large retail levy and extension of small business rate relief
The Committee received a briefing on the forthcoming consultation on the large retail levy and extension of small business rate relief from the following DFP officials: Mr Brian McClure, Head of Rating Policy Division, Central Finance Group, DFP; Dr Veronica Holland, Rating Policy Division, Central Finance Group, DFP.
The Committee noted the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) paper, Proposed rating levy on Large Retail properties in Northern Ireland – Pre-consultation.
Mr Girvan left the meeting at 10.16am.
Mr Girvan returned to the meeting at 11.18am.
The meeting moved into public session at 11.41am.
7. Budget (No. 2) Bill (Accelerated Passage)
The Committee considered DFP’s request to grant accelerated passage to the Budget (No.2) Bill. The Committee noted the responses from the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development and the Committee for Education in respect of the excess votes for their respective departments.
Agreed: that the Committee is satisfied that there has been appropriate consultation with it on the public expenditure proposals contained in the Budget (No. 2) Bill (NI) 2011 and is content to grant accelerated passage to the Bill in accordance with Standing Order 42(2). A draft letter to the Speaker confirming this decision was also agreed.
8. Correspondence (contd.)
The Committee noted the following routine correspondence, which had been emailed to members prior to the meeting:
- Department of Finance and Personnel: Public Expenditure Presentation from the meeting of 25 May 2011;
- Europa press release: “Ms or Mr SME”: Small business gets an advocate in each EU Member State; and
- Annual Report of the Lay Observer for NI 2010.
9. Draft Forward Work Programme
The Committee considered the draft work programme containing a schedule of business until summer recess.
The Committee noted correspondence from the Northern Ireland Association of Independent Recyclers requesting an opportunity to brief the Committee on the impact of lottery funding and work in NI.
Agreed: to request a written briefing explaining the relevance of the matter to the remit of DFP in the first instance.
Agreed: that the work programme is updated to reflect any agreements made today and published on the Committee’s website.
10. Any Other Business
11. Date, time and place of next meeting.
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 in Room 30, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 11.47am.
Conor Murphy MP MLA
Committee for Finance and Personnel.
15 June 2011