The Northern Ireland Assembly has been dissolved. The election will take place on Thursday 5 May 2016.

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 05 July 2012

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting began at 10.00am in public session with the Deputy Chairperson in the Chair.

1.      Apologies 

Apologies are detailed above.

2.      Minutes of meeting held on 28 June 2012

Agreed: The draft minutes of the meeting on 28 June were agreed.

3.      Chairperson’s Business

Members considered a request from the Committee for Finance and Personnel to attend today’s evidence sessions with the Ulster Bank and Consumer Council.

Agreed: members of the Committee for Finance and Personnel to attend and to question representatives.

Members were informed that the Chairperson had met with Assembly Legal Services in relation to legal advice on the Department’s refusal to provide the Committee with information requested regarding proceedings against Presbyterian Mutual Society (PMS) directors.

Agreed: to seek further legal advice on the Committee’s power under Section 44 of the Northern Ireland Act.

Members considered the delegation of authority to respond to Freedom of Information (FoI) requests during summer recess to the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson.

Agreed: to delegate the authority to respond to FoI requests to the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson.  

4.      Matters Arising

Members considered a news article on the increase in the manufacturing sector in Scotland.

Agreed: to commission Assembly Research on the support given to the manufacturing sector in Northern Ireland compared to that in Scotland.

Members acknowledged the Assembly Research paper on Smart Metering trials in the Republic of Ireland.

Members noted a response from the Department on the European Union Consultation on sustainable growth and jobs.

Members considered previous correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel on the NI Assembly’s contribution to the Budget Process.

Agreed: to inform CFP that the Committee is content with the proposal to have a Memorandum of Understanding between the Assembly and the Executive on the budget process.

Members were informed that papers relating to the Committee’s evidence on hydraulic fracturing had been added to the Committee’s website.

Agreed: to add a Royal Academy of Engineering report on a review of hydraulic fracturing to the website.         

5.      Ulster Bank Systems Failure-Impact on Businesses and Consumers: Oral Briefing from Ulster Bank

Representatives joined the meeting at 10.07am.

Members received an oral briefing from Jim Brown, Chief Executive, Chris Sullivan, CEO Corporate Banking Division, RBS and Stephen Cruise, Head of Branches, Private and Financial Planning NI.

Key issues discussed included the impact on customers, impact on customers of other banks, redress, risk management, contingency planning, communications and information.

Paul Frew joined the meeting at 10.18am.

Agreed: to provide the Committee with a copy of the risk register priorities.

Agreed: to write to the Minister to obtain details of the Department’s response to the bank crisis and the impact on NI business.

Representatives left the meeting at 11.44am.

Patsy McGlone left the meeting at 11.46am.

6.      Ulster Bank Systems Failure-Impact on Businesses and Consumers: Oral Briefing from the Consumer Council

Representatives joined the meeting at 11.47am.

Members received an oral briefing from Antoinette McKeown, Chief Executive and Joleen Cunningham, Interim Head of Money Affairs, Consumer Council.

Key issues discussed included the impact on the most vulnerable and issues around communication.

Gordon Dunne left the meeting at 11.54am.

Stephen Moutray left the meeting at 11.59am

Paul Frew left the meeting at 12.19pm.

Agreed: to write to the Institute of Directors, the NI Independent Retail Trade Association, the Federation of Small Business, Advice NI, Citizens Advice, Age Concern and Christians Against Poverty to ask those organisations to provide a briefing to the Committee by September on how the systems failure has had an impacted on their members.

Representatives left the meeting at 12.30pm.

Stephen Agnew left the meeting at 12.34pm.

Agreed: the Consumer Council to provide further information on issues faced by vulnerable people due to the Ulster Bank systems failure.

Agreed: to work jointly on this issue in the future with the Committee for Finance and Personnel as the need arises.

7.      SL1: The Renewable Heat Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012

Paul Frew returned to the meeting at 12.35pm.

Members considered the above subordinate legislation.

Agreed: to obtain the views of Action Renewables on the policy proposals contained in the SL1 prior to the Committee making a determination.

Agreed: to receive an oral briefing from DETI Energy Division officials.

8.      SR 2012/255: The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012

Members considered a proposal for subordinate legislation from the Department.

Agreed: that the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment has considered the Department’s proposal for subordinate legislation under The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and has no objection to the policy implications of the proposed legislation at this stage.

9.      Treatment of Curtailment in Tie-Break Situations

Members were content to note the written briefing.

10.    Consultation on Implementation of the EU Third Energy Package

Members considered the written briefing.

Agreed: to obtain a summary of consultation responses when the consultation   closes.

Stephen Moutray returned to meeting at 12.40pm.

11.     Correspondence

Members noted the following items of correspondence:

i. Letter from the Committee for the Environment on Commissioned Research into the World Heritage Site Development in keeping with UNESCO status

Agreed: to share the research with the Environment Committee when available

ii. Invitation from the Committee  Employment and  Learning to an event on 17 September 2012

Agreed: to contact the Committee Office if Members wish to attend.

Members noted the following items of correspondence:

iii. Written Ministerial Statement on Forthcoming FP7 Call

iv. Responses from Invest NI in relation to Invest NI Year  End Results and 2011-2015 Corporate Plan

v. Response from DETI on:

a)      the Go-For-It Programme Tender

b)      Project Kelvin

vi. Letter from Invest NI on Policy and Programme Screenings

vii. Response from the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development of the regulatory impact on the Rural Development Programme and Credit Unions

12.    Any other business

Members were informed that a draft Forward Work Programme will be available for consideration at the first meeting in September.

13.    Date, time and place of next meeting 

The next meeting of the Committee will take place on Thursday 13 September at 10.30am, Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The Deputy Chair adjourned the meeting at 12.43pm.

Mr Phil Flanagan
Deputy Chair
Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment
13 September 2012

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