Legislative Consent Memorandum the Public Bodies (Abolition for Food From Britain) Order 2014
1. The Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development is a Statutory Departmental Committee established in accordance with paragraphs 8 and 9 of Strand One of the Belfast Agreement, Section 29 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and under Assembly Standing Order 46.
2. The Committee has power:
- to consider and advise on Departmental budgets and annual plans in the context of the overall budget allocation;
- to approve relevant secondary legislation and take the Committee Stage of relevant primary legislation;
- to call for persons and papers;
- to initiate enquiries and make reports; and
- to consider and advise on matters brought to the Committee by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
3. On the 7th March 2011 the Assembly agreed to a Legislative Consent Motion (LCM) on the Public Bodies Act 2011. This allowed certain public bodies to be dissolved or abolished. One of these bodies was Food From Britain (FFB). FFB was a non-departmental body established in the Agriculture Marketing Act 1983 to assist UK food and drink companies in export markets.
4. The FFB has in practice been non-operational since March 2009. It has received no budget from DEFRA, has no staff and has performed no activities since that date. The level and range of programmes from Invest NI were strengthened and a new Regional Food Programme was introduced by DARD to address any concerns over its abolition. It is not anticipated therefore that the official abolition of the FFB will have any material impact on the local NI agri-food industry.
5. A consultation was carried out UK wide with DARD separately informing local stakeholders. UK wide only 8 responses were received and only one from Northern Ireland which supported the abolition.
6. At its meeting of Tuesday 27 May 2014 the Committee considered papers, attached, from the Department on the proposal to abolish Food From Britain and a copy of the draft consent motion as laid in the Business Office. The papers provided to the Committee indicated that this Order would have a minimal impact in Northern Ireland.
7. Having considered this evidence, the Committee was content for the Department to proceed in seeking the Assembly’s consent to the Public Bodies (Abolition of Food From Britain) Order 2014.