Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 30 April 2013
Venue: Room 106, Parliament Buildings
1.1 There were apologies from Mr Stewart Dickson, and the Speaker welcomed Mr Kieran McCarthy as the Alliance substitute.
2. Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 23 April 2013
2.1 The minutes were agreed and signed by the Speaker.
3. Matters arising
3.1 There were no matters arising.
4. Finalisation of the Order Paper for the plenary meeting on Tuesday 7 May 2013
4.1 Members agreed to schedule a DUP motion to change Committee membership on Tuesday 7 May.
4.2 Members noted that, in addition to the Executive business previously agreed for Tuesday 7 May, a motion to approve the draft Forestry (Felling of Trees) (Calculation of the Area of Land) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013 had been scheduled for that day.
4.3 Members noted that there were still no requests for Committee business.
Private Members' Business
4.4 The UUP requested that the motion on 'Fall in Farm Incomes' scheduled previously be changed. The following motion was scheduled in its place:
• 'Preferred Option Document on Paediatric Cardiac Surgery' (Mr R Beggs, Mr S Gardiner, Mr R Swann [R]).
Members agreed to schedule the motion with the usual timings.
4.5 Members noted that it had been clarified that the thrust of the SDLP adjournment topic on 'Oversubscription of Primary School Places in South Belfast' was different to the DUP motion scheduled for debate earlier that day.
4.6 Junior Minister McCann confirmed that all relevant Ministers were available to respond to the business selected.
4.7 The draft Order Paper was agreed.
5. Provisional arrangements for the plenary meetings in week commencing 13 May 2013
5.1 Members noted that, Question Time to the Minister for Employment and Learning, and the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment was scheduled for Monday 13 May, along with the Further Consideration Stage of the Marine Bill, and the following motions to approve secondary legislation:
• The Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order (Northern Ireland) 2013;
• The Child Support (Management of Payments and Arrears) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012;
• The Child Support Maintenance Calculation Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012;
• The Child Support Maintenance (Changes to Basic Rate Calculation and Minimum Amount of Liability) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.
5.2 Members noted that Question Time to the Minister of the Environment, and the Minister of Finance and Personnel was scheduled for Tuesday 14 May.
5.3 Members noted that no Committee business had been requested.
Private Members' Business
5.4 Members agreed to schedule two Private Members' motions on Monday 13 May and two on Tuesday 14 May. Under the system of allocation, the selections lay with the SDLP, DUP, Sinn Féin and DUP. Both Mr Ramsey and Ms Ruane agreed to notify the Clerk of the selection from their respective party after the meeting.
The following motion was selected for debate on Monday 13 May:
• 'Epilepsy Service Provision' (Mr G Robinson, Ms P Bradley, Ms P Brown, Mr G Dunne).
The following motion was selected for debate on Tuesday 14 May:
• 'Future of Rural Schools' (Mr M Storey, Miss M McIlveen, Mr J Craig, Mrs B Hale).
5.4 Members agreed that up to 1 hour 30 minutes should be allocated for each debate, with the usual speaking times.
5.5 Members agreed to schedule an Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 14 May. Under the system of allocation, the selection lay with the DUP. The following topic was selected:
• 'Post-Primary Education in East Belfast' (Mr R Newton).
5.6 Junior Minister McCann confirmed that all relevant Ministers were available to respond to the business selected.
5.7 The provisional Order Papers were agreed.
6. Update on late answers to written questions
6.1 The Speaker referred members to a summary paper which provided an update on the response times to Assembly Written Questions from 1 January 2013 - 31 March 2013. Members noted the results, and agreed to receive a further update following the summer recess.
7. Any other business
7.1 The Speaker reminded Whips that the Business Committee meets in closed session to allow for confidential discussions on sensitive issues, and that benefits accrue to all parties through this arrangement. He expressed his concern that recent discussions at Business Committee had been reported to the media, and asked that all Members continue to respect the arrangements that are in place.
7.2 Members noted a response to a Freedom of Information request on the cost of refreshments for all Committees.
8. Date and Time of next meeting
8.1 Members agreed to meet at approximately 12.30pm on Tuesday 7 May 2013 in Room 106.
The Speaker brought the meeting to a close at 12.52pm.