Official Report (Hansard)

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Members present for all or part of the proceedings: 
Mrs Naomi Long (Deputy Chairperson) 
Mr Tom Elliott 
Mr Ian McCrea 
Mr Stephen Moutray 
Mr Jim Shannon 
Mr Jimmy Spratt

Witnesses: 
Jim Hamilton ) Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister 
Neil Jackson )

The Deputy Chairperson (Mrs Long):

We now come to the consideration of the Public Authorities (Reform) Bill. We have received correspondence from the First Minister and the deputy First Minister concerning the Committee’s request that the Agricultural Wages Board be included in the Bill as a body to be abolished. That has been tabled, and, as you can see, it advises that the First Minister and the deputy First Minister will not move such an amendment. Members now need to decide whether we want to propose an amendment, or refer it to the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development. The Bill Clerk is here to give as any advice that may be required, as are officials from the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister.

Mr I McCrea:

I am not surprised by this response. I think we knew what the answer would be. It would be worth sending this to the Agriculture Committee.

The Deputy Chairperson:

That would happen at Consideration Stage. Are members happy with that approach?

Mr I McCrea:

Does it make any difference whether it comes from this Committee or that one?

The Deputy Chairperson:

The advice that we are getting is that it does not. It will be put down as a Committee amendment to the Bill at Consideration Stage. It will be tabled in the Bill Office as usual.

Mr Elliott:

The only option now is to bring it up at Consideration Stage?

The Deputy Chairperson:

Yes. Are members agreed that we should refer it to the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee?

Members indicated assent.

The Deputy Chairperson:

We now have the detailed clause-by-clause scrutiny of the Bill. Members will have an opportunity to raise any concerns and suggest any amendments. I welcome Neil Jackson and Jim Hamilton from the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister, who are available for points of clarification.

Members should read the relevant clauses of the Bill along with the related commentary in the explanatory memorandum. This session will be recorded by Hansard for inclusion in the Committee’s Bill report. The Bill has eight clauses and three schedules. Each clause, and any subsections, will need to be considered in turn, after which the Committee will have two options: to agree that the Committee is content with the clause as drafted, or to agree that the Committee recommend to the Assembly that the clause be amended.

The Bill seeks to abolish the Fisheries Conservancy Board and transfer its functions to the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, and to abolish the Disability Living Allowance Advisory Board for Northern Ireland. The Bill also carries several repeals of primary legislation relating to organisations that have already been abolished, such as Enterprise Ulster, the Pig Production Development Committee, and the Laganside Corporation.

Clause 1 (Fisheries Conservancy Board for Northern Ireland)

The Deputy Chairperson:

We shall discuss clause 1 of the Bill in conjunction with schedule 1. Clause 1 provides for the abolition of the Fisheries Conservancy Board for Northern Ireland and the transfer of the functions exercisable by that board to the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.

Part 1 of schedule 1 deals with the transfer of assets, liabilities and staff etc. Paragraph 2 transfers all assets and liabilities of the board to the Department. Paragraph 3 transfers the employees of the board to the Department. Paragraph 4 provides that in any statutory provision or document any reference to the board shall, in relation to time after the appointed day, be construed as a reference to the Department. Paragraph 5 provides transitional arrangements for accounts and reports.

Part 2 of schedule 1 deals with amendments. Paragraphs 1 to 14 detail the amendments to legislation to change references to the Fisheries Conservancy Board for Northern Ireland into references to the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.

Question, That the Committee is content with the clause, put and agreed to.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 (Disability Living Allowance Advisory Board for Northern Ireland)

The Deputy Chairperson:

Clause 2 deals with the abolition of the Disability Living Allowance Advisory Board. Schedule 2 outlines the details of amendments to legislation to omit references to the Disability Living Allowance Advisory Board.

Question, That the Committee is content with the clause, put and agreed to.

Clause 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 ( Northern Ireland Pig Production Development Committee)

The Deputy Chairperson:

This clause details a number of statutory provisions that are repealed as a consequence of the winding-up order.

Question, That the Committee is content with the clause, put and agreed to.

Clause 3 agreed to.

Clause 4 ( Enterprise Ulster)

The Deputy Chairperson:

This clause details a number of statutory provisions that are repealed as a consequence of the dissolution order.

Question, That the Committee is content with the clause, put and agreed to.

Clause 4 agreed to.

Clause 5 (Laganside Corporation)

The Deputy Chairperson:

This clause details a number of statutory provisions that are repealed as a consequence of the dissolution order.

Question, That the Committee is content with the clause, put and agreed to.

Clause 5 agreed to.

Clause 6 (Repeals)

The Deputy Chairperson:

We will discuss schedule 3 along with clause 6. This clause repeals the statutory provisions listed in schedule 3.

Question, That the Committee is content with the clause, put and agreed to.

Clause 6 agreed to.

Clause 7 (Commencement)

The Deputy Chairperson:

This clause provides for the Department to make an Order or Orders bringing the Bill into operation.

Question, That the Committee is content with the clause, put and agreed to.

Clause 7 agreed to.

Clause 8 (Short Title)

The Deputy Chairperson:

This clause gives the short title of the Bill.

Question, That the Committee is content with the clause, put and agreed to.

Clause 8 agreed to.

Schedules 1 to 3 agreed to.

Long title

The Deputy Chairperson:

The long title of the Bill is:

“A Bill to make provision for, or in connection with, the abolition of certain public authorities”.

Question, That the Committee is content with the long title, put and agreed to.

Long title agreed to.

The Deputy Chairperson:

The draft report will be prepared for Committee consideration on 19 November 2008. I thank the officials for their attendance.

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