Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 17 May 2012
Venue: Room 30
The meeting began at 10.09am in closed session.
1. Closed Session: Inquiry into Research & Development
Members considered the draft Inquiry report
Agreed: to include a reference in the inquiry report to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Newry and Mourne District Council and Castlereagh Borough Council’s Evolution Project.
Agreed: to table the draft motion for plenary debate on 11 June in the Business Office.
Daithí McKay joined the meeting at 10.14am.
The meeting moved into open session at 10.15am.
Apologies are detailed above.
3. Minutes of meeting held on 3 May 2012
Agreed: The draft minutes of the meeting on 3 May were agreed.
4. Chairperson’s Business
Members considered correspondence from the Institute of Engineering and Technology requesting a meeting with the Chair and the Engineering Policy Group Northern Ireland (EPGNI) to discuss their work.
Agreed: The Chairperson to meet with EPGNI on behalf of the Committee.
The Chairperson informed members that George Best City Airport has requested the opportunity to brief the Committee in light of recent developments its future plans as a gateway to both business and tourism in Northern Ireland.
Agreed: to schedule an oral briefing for 24 May.
5. Matters Arising
Members noted an update from Invest NI on the Terms of Reference for the Go For It Programme. As this process is in the advanced stage of tendering Invest NI felt it would not be appropriate to make the details of the Terms of Reference available at present but will do so later this month once the process has initiated.
Agreed: to await the relevant information from Invest NI.
Members noted correspondence from the Head of Outreach regarding details of the visit by the EU Commissioner Marie Geoghegan-Quinn to Parliament Buildings on the 7 June and her meeting with the Committee at 9.25 in room 115.
Members discussed the format for the scheduled oral briefings on Hydraulic Fracturing on 21 and 28 June
Agreed: to write to the Committee for the Environment inviting members to attend the briefings.
6. Evolution Project: Castlereagh Borough Council
Officials joined the meeting at 10.25am.
Members received an oral briefing from Colin McCabrey, Economic Development Manager, Roger Warnock, Investment and Enterprise Development Manager, Castlereagh Borough Council and George Dorrian, Policy Adviser, Federation of Small Businesses.
Key issues discussed included an update on the progress to date of the Council’s Evolution Project and its benefit to small businesses.
Patsy McGlone joined the meeting at 10.28am.
Officials left the meeting 10.59am.
Alban Maginness left the meeting at 10.59am.
10.59 am: The Deputy Chairperson Daithí McKay took the role of as Chairperson.
7. Energising Northern Ireland Report: Consumer Council
Lord Whitty joined the meeting at 11.00am.
Steven Agnew joined the meeting at 11.05am.
Sandra Overend joined the meeting at 11.08am.
Members received an oral briefing from Lord Whitty, Consumer Council.
Key issues discussed on the Lord Whitty’s independent report “Energising Northern Ireland was based on the recommendations within the report.
Jennifer McCann left the meeting at 11.40am.
Stephen Moutray left the meeting at 11.48am.
Lord Whitty left the meeting at 12.03pm.
Agreed: to write to the Committee for Social Development to enquire if there has been any evaluation on the potential impact of welfare reform on fuel poverty and to seek the Department’s views on an area by area approach to energy efficiency, social tariffs and clarification on the updated definition of fuel poverty.
Agreed: to write to the Department to request an oral briefing on the implementation of Lord Whitty’s recommendations including the Department’s views on social tariffs.
8. Reform of the Northern Ireland Credit Unions: Financial Services Bill (Legislative Consent Motion)
Members discussed the written briefing and the Minister’s request for the Committee to submit a report by 24 May 2012.
Agreed: to agree a final report at next week’s meeting if the LCM is available for consideration.
9. European Regional Development Fund and Energy Efficiency
Members discussed the written briefing from Assembly Research.
Agreed: to forward the paper to the Department and the Committee for Social Development for information and comment.
Agreed: to receive an oral briefing from Assembly Research to clarify issues within the paper.
10. SL1 The Renewable Heat Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012
Members considered an update from the Department on the proposal for subordinate legislation.
Agreed: to await the further information from the EU Commission and to request an oral briefing from the Department.
Agreed: to commission Assembly Research on an analysis of the changes to the legislation since the consultation period ended.
Members noted the following items of correspondence:
i. Correspondence from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure requesting a briefing from Invest NI officials on the Creative Industries.
Agreed: to forward to the Department to respond directly to the CAL Committee and copied to this Committee.
ii. Letter to the Chairperson from NICVA seeking a meeting with the Committee to discuss the introduction of the UK wide Work Programme to Northern Ireland.
Agreed: to seek a written briefing from NICVA in the first instance.
iii. Letter from the Minister to the Chairperson regarding appointments to the Agri-Food Strategy Board.
iv. Response from the Department on:
a) Nine key proposed tourism areas
b) Number of tourism visits and contribution to the Republic of Ireland (ROI) economy since 2008 in comparison to Northern Ireland (NI)
c) Suicide and self-harm
v. Invite from Colleges NI to an awards ceremony on 21 May.
vi. Correspondence from the Committee for the Environment on Northern Ireland Climate Change Bill Stakeholder Event.
vii. Correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding the Review of Budget Allocations.
viii. Letter from the Department of Finance and Personnel regarding the role of PEDU in PFG Monitoring.
ix. Letter from the Department regarding the Consultation on Policy Proposals to amend the Insolvency (Northern Ireland) Order 1989.
x. Correspondence from the Committee for Employment and Learning regarding the Dissolution of DEL
xi. An invitation from Belfast Metropolitan College to an event regarding Framework Programme 7.
12. Any other business
There were no other items of business.
13. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting of the Committee will take place on Thursday 24 May at 10.00am, Room 30, Parliament Buildings.
The Chair adjourned the meeting at 12.20pm.