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

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 31 January 2013

Venue: Room 144

The Chairperson declared the meeting open to the public at 10.04am.

1. Apologies

Apologies were as indicated above.

2. Welfare Reform Bill – Ministerial Briefing

The Minister and the following officials from the Department joined the meeting at 10.04am:

  • Mr Tommy O’Reilly;
  • Mr Michael Pollock; and
  • Ms Martina Campbell

Mr Mark H Durkan joined the meeting at 10.08am

Ms Pam Brown joined the meeting at 10.14am

Ms Paula Bradley joined the meeting 10.59am

The Minister briefed the Committee on his response to a number of issues raised by the Committee on the Welfare Reform Bill.  A detailed discussion followed covering a range of issues including options for split Universal Credit payments and frequency of payments, Support for Mortgage Interest, Under Occupancy and Sanctions.

Ms Judith Cochrane left the meeting at 11.04am

Mr Michael Copeland left the meeting at 11.08am

The Chairperson thanked the Minister and his officials for their attendance.

The Minister and Departmental officials left the meeting at 11.18am.

This session was recorded by Hansard.

The Committee agreed to return to the Minister’s response in the afternoon session for further consideration.    

3. Draft Minutes of Meeting 24 January 2013

Agreed: The minutes of the meeting held on 24 January 2012 were agreed.

4. Chairperson’s Business

The Chairperson advised Members that he had received notification that the Minister has approved a 3.6% rent increase in 2013/2014 for Housing Executive tenants.

5. Matters Arising

The Chairperson asked Members if they were content that the letter that had been sent to the Minister regarding the specification of hinges used by the NIHE be forwarded to the representatives from the double glazing industry who briefed the Committee.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward this letter to the representatives.

6. Licensing Legislation – Briefing by Drumbo Park Ltd

The following representatives joined the meeting 11.20am:

  • John McCollum, Director Drumbo Park Limited;
  • Michael McAdam, Director Drumbo Park Limited; and
  • Linus Murray, Partner, O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors.

Following a brief promotional video on Drumbo Park the representatives briefed the Committee on the restrictions imposed by current liquor licensing legislation in respect of Sunday opening and the impact this had on business at Drumbo Park. This was followed by a question and answer session.

Mr Michael Copeland re-joined the meeting at 11.26am

Members recognised the amount of personal investment that has gone into Drumbo Park Ltd, the jobs created and its contribution for the local economy. Members also recognised that the gambling aspect of Drumbo Park Dog Racing Track is secondary and that people would mainly go for the overall entertainment experience.

Members were open to the view that the current legislation should be amended so that general permitted hours for liquor licensing, in respect of a place of public entertainment, also extend to Sunday but concerns were also expressed that this might have wider implications.

Ms Pam Brown left the meeting at 12.02pm

Agreed: The Committee agreed to seek advice from Assembly Legal Services before progressing the issue.

The Chairperson thanked the representatives for their attendance at the meeting.

The representatives left the meeting at 12.09pm

Mr Michael Copeland and Mr David McClarty left the meeting at 12.09pm                       

7. Proposed Subordinate Legislation              

The Committee considered the following proposed item of legislation:

  • The Occupational Pension Schemes (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013. The Committee were content for the Rule to be made.

8. Correspondence

Members were content for the items of correspondence to be dealt with as per the correspondence memo.

9. Forward Work Programme

The Chairperson proposed that the Committee should cancel its meeting scheduled for Monday 4 February and schedule a meeting for Wednesday 6 February to further consider the Welfare Reform Bill.      

Agreed: Committee agreed to meet on 5, 6 and 7 February to further consider the Welfare Reform Bill

The Chairperson suspended at 12.18pm

The Committee reconvened at 1.10pm in closed session

Ms Pam Brown re-joined the meeting at 1.13pm

10. Welfare Reform Bill – Committee Amendments

The Committee received a briefing from the Bill Clerk on Committee Amendments to the Welfare Reform Bill.

Mr Alex Maskey (Chairperson) left the meeting at 2.04pm

Mr Mickey Brady took over as Deputy Chairperson at 2.04pm

The Closed session ended at 2.55pm

Mr Mark H Durkan left the meeting at 2.55pm

The Deputy Chairperson declared the meeting open to the public at 2.59pm

11. Welfare Reform Bill – Further Deliberation

The following officials from the Department joined the meeting at 2.59pm

  • Michael Pollock, DSD;
  • Martina Campbell, DSD;
  • Jane Corderoy, DSD; and
  • Conrad McConnell, DSD.

Mr Mark H Durkan re-joined the meeting at 3.06pm

The Committee continued with further consideration of the Minister’s response to issues raised by the Committee on the Welfare Reform Bill.

Mr Conrad McConnell left the meeting at 3.17pm

Mr Michael Copeland left the meeting at 3.56pm

This session was recorded by Hansard.

The Deputy Chairperson thanked the Departmental officials for their attendance at the meeting.

The Departmental officials left the meeting at 4.23pm

12. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will take place at 10:00am on Tuesday 5 February 2013 in Room 144 Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.23pm.

Mr Alex Maskey
Chairperson, Committee for Social Development.
7 February 2013

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