Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 18 April 2012

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting opened at 10.03am in public session. 

1. Apologies.

Apologies are detailed above.

Agreed: that Agenda items 4 and 5 are recorded by Hansard and the Official Report published on the Assembly website.

2. Draft Minutes of Proceedings of 27 March 2012 

Agreed: that the minutes are published on the Assembly website.

Mr Hussey joined the meeting at 10.05am

3. Matters Arising

Table of Requests for Information from the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP)

The Committee noted the table of requests for information from DFP which provided an update on any matters arising not covered elsewhere on the agenda.

Equal Pay

The Committee considered a response from the DFP Minister regarding equal pay issues. 

Agreed: to invite comments on the Minister’s correspondence from all the stakeholders who have communicated with the Committee on this matter in advance of a further oral briefing from DFP. It was also agreed that the further oral briefing from DFP should include details of the projected legal costs of defending the equal pay settlement.

Agreed: to publish the correspondence with the Minister on the Committee’s webpages.

The Committee also noted correspondence on the equal pay settlement from a member of the public.

Review of Budget Allocations 2013-14 and 2014-5 

The Committee considered correspondence from the DFP Minister regarding the review of budget allocations for 2013-14 and 2014-5.

Agreed: to request that DFP provides its analysis of departmental spending performance for 2011-12 in time to enable Assembly statutory committees to engage with their departments to inform the outcome of the bilateral discussions that are to take place with DFP and before any decisions are taken by the Executive. The Committee will also decide if it is appropriate to co-ordinate a response on behalf of the Assembly committees at that time.

Implications of Budget 2012 for Northern Ireland

The Committee considered papers from DFP on the implications of Budget 2012 for Northern Ireland.

Agreed: to schedule a briefing from DFP officials, focusing on the UK Government’s proposal on regional public sector pay and the implications that this could have locally.

4. Legislative Consent Motion: Air Passenger Duty (APD) – Evidence from Belfast International Airport and Belfast City Airport

The Committee took evidence from the following witnesses: John Doran, Managing Director, Belfast International Airport; and Brian Ambrose, Chief Executive, Belfast City Airport.  The evidence session was recorded by Hansard.

Mr McQuillan joined the meeting at 10.17am

Agreed: the witnesses will provide any additional information as requested during the evidence session.

Agreed: to request details of any case made by DFP to Treasury on the comparison of Northern Ireland with the Scottish Highlands and Islands, which are exempt from APD; and for details of the Treasury response to the case for Northern Ireland being granted exemption from APD as opposed to the devolution of powers to vary APD rates.

Agreed: to request details from DFP on what, if any, research has been undertaken into the business case for a wider reduction in APD rates, to include short-haul and domestic flights as well as long-haul flights, in terms of stimulating tourism and economic growth.

Agreed: to commission research on the position of the Scottish Government in respect of the devolution of APD.

5. Legislative Consent Motion: Air Passenger Duty – Evidence from ABTA - the  Travel Association, the NI Hotels Federation and the Belfast Visitor & Convention Bureau

The Committee took evidence from the following witnesses: Doreen McKenzie, Chairman of Aviation Committee, ABTA; Luke Pollard, Head of Public Affairs, ABTA; Janice Gault, Chief Executive, NI Hotels Federation and Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive, Belfast Visitor & Convention Bureau. The evidence session was recorded by Hansard.

Mr Hussey left the meeting at 11.12am

Mr Hussey returned to the meeting at 11.19am

Mr Humphrey declared an interest as a Director of Belfast Visitor & Convention Bureau

Mr Maskey left the meeting at 11.21am

Mr Maskey returned to the meeting at 11.25am

Mr Humphrey left the meeting at 11.30am

Mr Humphrey returned to the meeting at 11.34am

Mr Humphrey left the meeting at 11.35am

Mr Bradley left the meeting at 11.35am

Agreed: the witnesses will provide any additional information as requested during the evidence session.

Agreed: to invite comments on the Legislative Consent Motion from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment. 

6. Subordinate Legislation

Members noted the following statutory rule which is not subject to any Assembly procedures:

  • SR 2012 No. 137 Pensions Increase (Review) Order (NI) 2012

The Committee considered the following proposal for subordinate legislation from DFP:

  • SL1 – The Whole of Government Accounts (Designation of Bodies) Order (NI) 2012

Agreed: that the Committee has considered DFP’s proposal for subordinate legislation under The Whole of Government Accounts (Designation of Bodies) Order (NI) 2012, and has no objections to the policy implications of the proposed legislation at this stage.

7. Correspondence

Members considered the following items of correspondence:

  • Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure: National Museums NI and Arts Council of NI reduction in funding.
  • DFP: Proposed EU Directive on public procurement;

Agreed: to forward the correspondence to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister.

  • DFP: Report on the 2010 Review of Fair Participation in the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
  • DFP: Annual theft and fraud report response.
  • Correspondence from the Commission on Devolution in Wales;

Agreed: the Committee secretariat will liaise with Commission officials to make arrangements for the proposed informal meeting with Committee members.

  • CBI – Invitation to the NI Annual Economic Briefing;

Agreed: that the Chairperson will attend on behalf of the Committee.

  • Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (Amendment) Scheme (NI) 2012.

 

8. Committee Work Programme

Members considered a draft of the Committee work programme.

Agreed: that the Committee work programme is amended to reflect decisions made today, and that the revised programme is published on the Assembly website.

9. Any Other Business

10. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 25th April at 10.00am in Room 30, Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 11.41am

Conor Murphy MP MLA
Chairperson
Committee for Finance and Personnel
25 April 2012

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