Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 31 May 2012

Venue: Room 30

The meeting began at 10.35am in public session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Minutes of meeting held on 24 May 2012

Agreed: The draft minutes of the meeting on 24 May were agreed.

3. Chairperson’s Business

Members noted an invitation to the Chairperson from the All Party Group on Ethnic Minorities to an event on 7 June.

Members noted an invitation to the Chairperson from Agenda NI to speak at the annual NI Economic Conference in September.

4. Matters Arising

Agreed: to forward the Research and Development Inquiry Report to departments on which the recommendations impact and to forward a copy to the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

Paul Frew joined the meeting at 10.38am.

5. Invest NI: Oral Briefing

Officials joined the meeting at 10.39am.

Members received an oral briefing from Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive and Mark Ennis, Chairman. 

Key issues discussed included Invest NI end of year performance, the impact of cuts to advertising and end of the year flexibility on the Boosting Business Programme.  

Jennifer McCann joined the meeting at 10.47am.

Patsy McGlone joined the meeting at 10.47am.

Steven Agnew joined the meeting at 10.50am.

Daithí McKay joined the meeting at 11.13am.

Paul Frew left the meeting at 11.30am.

Robin Newton joined the meeting at 12.00pm.

Jennifer McCann left the meeting at 12.05pm.

Agreed: Invest NI to provide a breakdown of R&D among small businesses

Agreed: Invest NI to provide information on the procedures and vouching of the EU funding for Business and Improvement Training programme.

Agreed: Invest NI to provide information on the Scottish model for end of year flexibility.

Daithí McKay left the meeting at 12.10pm.

Agreed: to request information on skills in the ICT sector from the MATRIX panel in advance of the briefing on 5 July.

Agreed:  Invest NI to provide information on the recent First Trust Bank scheme to increase competitive loans to business.

Officials left the meeting at 12.28pm.

Gordon Dunne left the meeting at 12.29pm.

Jennifer McCann returned to the meeting at 12.29am.

Agreed: to write to the Department for Finance and Personnel in relation to Invest NI’s end-year budget flexibility.

Agreed: to schedule evidence sessions with the major local banks in relation to access to finance after summer recess.

6. European Regional Development Fund and Energy Efficiency

Members received an oral briefing from Assembly Research.

Stephen Moutray left the meeting at 12.31pm.

Daithí McKay returned to the meeting at 12.34pm.

Agreed: to seek an update from the Department for Social Development in relation to the progress of the Green New Deal.

Jennifer McCann left the meeting at 12.43pm.

Agreed: for Assembly Research to commission further research into the case studies presented in the research paper.

Agreed: to write to the DFP to obtain a breakdown of EDRF uptake by Departments.

7. Sustainable Energy Action Plan

Members discussed the written briefing.

Agreed: to welcome the Action Plan.

Agreed: to copy the Action Plan to other relevant Committees and to suggest that this Committee scrutinise the implementation of the Action Plan on a bi-annual basis and keep other Committees updated.

8. The Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity 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 The Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and has no objection to the policy implications of the proposed legislation at this stage.

9. Forward Work Programme

Members discussed the Forward Work Programme.

Members were reminded of a meeting with the EU Commissioner for Research Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn on 7 June and a visit to the NI Advanced Composite and Engineering Centre (NIACE) to follow the meeting.

Agreed: to book transport for the visit if required.

Members noted a draft itinerary of the Committee’s external meeting in the Causeway Hotel followed by a visit to the new Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre on 14 June.

Members noted a letter from Ian Paisley MP who wishes to meet with the Committee at the visit on 14 June.

Agreed: to forward the itinerary to Mr. Paisley.

Members noted correspondence from the Department informing the Committee that, on the 14 June members were to receive a briefing on the electricity market reform and the responses to the Northern Ireland Renewable Obligation (NIRO) consultation along with the SL1 for the NIRO. However due to a delay the Department cannot present the SL1 on that date .

Agreed: to proceed with the briefings on the 14 June as suggested.

Agreed: to commission research into the findings from the pilot on SMART metering in the Republic of Ireland.

Agreed: to publish the Forward Work Programme on the Committee’s webpage.

10. Correspondence

Members noted the following items of correspondence:

i. Letter to the Chairperson from the Department regarding the Electricity and Gas Directives.

Agreed: to commission Assembly Research and Information Services to provide research on these issues.

ii. Letter to the Chairperson from the Department regarding bankruptcy eligibility.

iii. Letter to the Chairperson from the Department regarding National Museums NI.

Agreed: to copy the response to the CAL Committee for information.

iv. Letter to Paul Frew MLA, Chairperson of the ARD Committee from the Department regarding the Food Sector Trade Mission to China.

v. Letter from Conal McDevitt MLA to the Utility Regulator regarding funding for solar PV systems.

Agreed: to ask the Utility Regulator to copy his response to the Committee and to commission research from Assembly Research and Information Services to obtain clarification on the issues.

vi. Correspondence from the Committee for Employment and Learning requesting an oral briefing from Invest NI.

vii. Correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel on Post Project Evaluations (PPEs).

viii. Correspondence from the European Commission which has launched a new public consultation on industry as a driver of sustainable growth and jobs

Agreed: to suggest to the Department that it responds to the consultation.

11. Any other business

Members discussed a recent tragic accident in a disused quarry.

Agreed: to seek a briefing from the HSENI on the safety measures in place at quarries.

Members discussed recent news that an £82million entrepreneur fund for 18-24 year olds is not available to young people from Northern Ireland.

Agreed: to seek clarification from the Department on the matter.

12. Date, time and place of next meeting 

The next meeting of the Committee will take place on Thursday 14 June at 10.30am, Causeway Hotel, 40 Causeway Hotel, Bushmills.

The Chair adjourned the meeting at 1.05pm.

Mr Alban Maginness
Chair, Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment
14 June 2012

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