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

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 27 September 2012

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting began at 10.03am in public session.

1. Apologies 

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Minutes of meeting held on 20 September 2012

Agreed: The draft minutes of the meeting on 20 September 2012 were agreed.

3. Matters Arising

Members noted the alternative formats available to respond to the consultation on the 2 Megabit per second Broadband Service across Northern Ireland.

4. Response to the Report on the Inquiry into Research & Development: Written Briefing from DETI

Members considered the Department’s response to the Research and Development inquiry recommendations.

Agreed: to receive an oral briefing from the Department before the 12 November event.

Agreed: to receive a written briefing from the Department on the Access to Finance Strategy.

Agreed: to scrutinise improvements in timescales for grant payments.

Agreed: to inform the Department that the Economic Advisory Group should include the outcomes of its examination of the Venture Capital market when officials brief the Committee.

Agreed: to invite representatives of NESTA to attend the Committee’s event on R&D on 12 November.

Agreed: to forward the Department’s response to organisations that provided evidence to the Committee including the Northern Ireland Engineering Policy Group and NESTA for comment.

5. Consultation on proposed changes to the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation in 2013: Written Briefing from DETI

Members considered the outcome of the consultation and were content to note.

6. Insolvency Bill: Oral Briefing from DETI

Officials joined the meeting at 10.20am.

Members received an oral briefing from Reg Nesbitt, Director, Insolvency Service and Jack Reid, Deputy Principal Insolvency Services, DETI.

Key issue discussed included the outcomes of the consultation.

Officials left the meeting at 10.30am.

7. Forward Work Programme

Members discussed the draft forward work programme.

Agreed: to hold a meeting with Ofcom in BT Tower on the 22 November and to ask the Department to provide a briefing at that meeting on the implementation of the Telecoms Action Plan 2011-2015.

Agreed: to commission Assembly Research on the following:

  • Comparison between the support provided in previous redundancy situations and the EU Globalisation Adjustment Fund
  • Employment from Renewables and Green Tech
  • Options for an independent Economics to brief the Committee; and
  • Comparison between fuel pricing in Britain and Northern Ireland and reasons for any differences

Agreed: to schedule an additional Committee meeting at 2pm on Tuesday 9 October to receive an oral briefing from the Office of Fair Trading.

Agreed: to schedule a briefing from the Economic Advisory Group before the end of the year.

Agreed: to publish the Forward Work Programme on the Committee website.

8. Correspondence

Members considered the following items of correspondence:

i. From Committee for Social Development Research paper on Mapping Poverty and Social Deprivation.

Agreed: to forward to the Department for comment.

ii. From Irish Congress of Trade Unions regarding comments by Invest NI Chief Executive in relation to FG Wilson job losses. 

Agreed: to inform the ICTU that Invest NI officials are due to appear before the Committee at a later date when they will be asked to clarify the issue.

Stephen Moutray left the meeting at 11.43am

iii. From Consumer Council highlighting key consumer issues.  

Agreed: to write to the Consumer Council acknowledging their letter and the issues identified. 

iv. From Advice NI regarding the Insolvency Rule being considered by the Committee for Justice.  

Agreed: to forward to the Committee of Justice.

v. Members noted an invitation to an event at the Waterfront Hall on 10 October.

vi. Members noted the Consumer Council response to the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding Ulster Bank system failure.

Agreed: to consider when Committee meets on the 11 October.

vii. From Tamboran to inform the Committee of management changes.

Agreed: to write to Department of the Environment seeking assurance that there is no conflict of interest with senior management and a public appointment position.

Agreed: to write to Tamboran seeking assurances that commitments made to the Committee by the previous Chief Executive and Director remain valid.

Members noted the following items of correspondence:

viii. Letter from the Northern Ireland Office regarding Corporation Tax.

ix. Correspondence from the Committee for Employment and Learning regarding Promoting Innovation and Emerging Technologies and The Role of the SBIR Program.

9. Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill – Legislative Consent Motion: Oral Briefing from DETI

Officials joined the meeting at 10.53am.

Gordon Dunne joined the meeting at 10.56am.

Sue Ramsey left the meeting at 10.58 am.

Members received an oral briefing from Mark Pinkerton, Principal Officer, Economic Policy Advisory Unit and Elaine Cassidy, Deputy Principal, Company Law, DETI.

Key issues discussed included the background to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, the Green Investment Bank & Company Directors’ Remuneration.

Officials left the meeting at 11.05am:

Agreed: to support DETI in seeking the Assembly’s agreement to the UK Parliament considering the provisions of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill dealing with the devolved matters of the UK Green Investment Bank and payments to directors of quoted companies.

Agreed: to consider a short draft report on the LCM at next week’s meeting

Agreed: to seek information from the Department on the preparatory work being carried out to inform business of the future Green Investment Bank.

10. October Monitoring: Oral Briefing from DETI

Officials joined the meeting at 11.07am

Members received an oral briefing from Trevor Cooper, Head of Finance Division and Jeff Partridge, Deputy Principal, Finance, DETI.

Key issues discussed included: EU Competitiveness Programme, EU Interreg Programme, and ring fenced budget for resolution of problems arising from the EU Nitrates Directive..

Sandra Overend joined the meeting at 11.25am        

Sue Ramsey returned to the meeting at 11.30am

Agreed: to receive further clarification on the £343K Administration.

Agreed: to receive further clarification on the £166K resource.

Agreed: to receive additional information on the proposal of the nitrates.

Paul Frew left the meeting at 11.44am

Officials left the meeting at 11.46am

11. Any other business

Members noted an additional meeting on the Tuesday 9 October.                  

12. Date, time and place of next meeting 

The next meeting of the Committee will take place on Thursday 04 October 2012 at 10.00am, Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The Chair adjourned the meeting at 11.47am.

Mr Patsy McGlone
Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment
27 September 2012

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