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Official Report (Hansard)

Session: 2008/2009

Date: 22 April 2009

NORTHERN IRELAND ASSEMBLY 
COMMITTEE FOR 
FINANCE AND PERSONNEL

Financial Provisions Bill

22 April 2009

Members present for all or part of the proceedings:

Mr Mitchel McLaughlin (Chairperson) 
Mr Simon Hamilton (Deputy Chairperson) 
Dr Stephen Farry 
Mr Fra McCann 
Ms Jennifer McCann 
Mr Adrian McQuillan 
Mr Declan O’Loan 
Ms Dawn Purvis 
Mr Peter Weir

Witnesses:

Mr David Thomson, Treasury Officer of Accounts 
Mr Michael Daly, Department of Finance and Personnel 
Ms Brenda Shearer, Department of Finance and Personnel

The Chairperson (Mr McLaughlin):

We turn to the Committee Stage of the Financial Provisions Bill. We are joined by our colleagues from Hansard. Please ensure that all mobile phones are switched off, because they can interfere with the audio recording.

We are joined by David Thomson, Michael Daly and Brenda Shearer. I hope that you are all fit and well after the Easter break and that you are ready for action. I shall ask the Committee Clerk to introduce the briefing paper, which is quite short. Members should refer to their copies of the Financial Provisions Bill, and we will begin its clause-by-clause consideration in conjunction with the respective explanatory passages in the Committee secretariat’s briefing paper.

The Committee Clerk:

The Committee secretariat’s paper highlights the fact that no issues were raised in respect of the clauses and provisions of the Bill as a result of the Committee’s liaison with other relevant Committees — the Public Accounts Committee, the Audit Committee and the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment — or our recent public notice and consultation. However, the paper indicates that, during the Bill’s Second Stage, some issues were raised by individual Members.

In addition, the paper highlights the fact that if any issues cannot be resolved and remain outstanding after today’s session, as a precaution, the Committee should seek an extension to the 13 May 2009 deadline. If an extension is required, today is the last opportunity for the Committee to agree such a motion. However, to date, the Committee’s intention has been to complete the Committee Stage within the normal 30-working-day deadline, which expires on 13 May 2009.

The Chairperson:

We shall begin the clause-by-clause consideration, and I invite members to ask questions or seek clarification. Department of Finance and Personnel officials are here to assist. If members are content, we will formally move and agree individual clauses.

Clause 1 (Absolute privilege for reports of Comptroller and Auditor General)

The Chairperson:

No issues were raised in the evidence to the Committee. Neither the Audit Committee nor the Public Accounts Committee have any concerns with the provisions of the clause.

Question, That the Committee is content with the clause, put and agreed to.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 (Expenditure for consumer purposes)

The Chairperson:

No issues were raised in the evidence to the Committee, and the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment has no concerns with the provisions of the clause.

Question, That the Committee is content with the clause, put and agreed to.

Clause 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 (Expenditure relating to social economy enterprises)

The Chairperson:

No issues were raised in the evidence to the Committee, and the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment has no concerns with the provisions of the clause.

Question, that the Committee is content with the clause, put and agreed to.

Clause 3 agreed to.

Clause 4 agreed to.

Clause 5 (Repeal of requirement to prepare Finance Accounts)

The Chairperson:

No issues were raised in the evidence to the Committee, and the Committee was content with the clarification provided by the Department of Finance and Personnel on the provisions in this clause.

Question, That the Committee is content with the clause, put and agreed to.

Clause 5 agreed to.

Clause 6 agreed to.

Schedule agreed to.

The Chairperson:

A draft report will be prepared for the consideration of the Committee at a forthcoming meeting. In accordance with the timetable for the Bill’s Committee Stage, the Committee is required to report to the Assembly by 13 May 2009 at the latest — which is a short run-in.

No issues were raised today, so perhaps the contingency in relation to extension does not need to be considered further. The secretariat will prepare the response and the report on that basis.

That concludes this item of Committee business.

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