Further Consideration Stage

Part of Executive Committee Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 1:30 pm on 26th January 2009.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon DUP 1:30 pm, 26th January 2009

I oppose the proposed amendments to clause 2. My colleague will speak to amendment Nos 4, 5, 6 and 7, and I will speak to amendment Nos 8, 9, 10 and 11. We want to dismiss the supposed need for those amendments as quickly as possible so that the Assembly, rather than holding things back, can get down to the business of helping the people of this Province. That is what I am about, and I hope that I can persuade other Members to be of the same opinion.

In this time of recession, people need good legislators who see their needs, and they need good legislation that will meet those needs. The Bill will show the public that we have both. I am anxious to get the Bill in place so that when the need arises, it can do the job that it is designed to do, which is to help people.

Amendment No 8 proposes to reduce the time limit from six months to three months from when a determination is made under clause 2 to the making of any consequent regulations. Given the time that is required for consultation, for example, that would mean that the relevant Department could run the risk of not meeting its proposed deadline. We all know that it can take some time for consultations to be completed and for the Assembly to approve regulations in draft form. Meanwhile, the people in the street would be worse off. I believe that amendment No 8, if agreed to, would reduce the effectiveness of the legislation and would be a backward step.

Amendment No 9 is as unnecessary as amendment No 1, which relates to clause 1. Amendment No 9 would require that a Department that has been designated by the Office of the First Minster and deputy First Minster inform its Assembly Committee of that designation. The amendment is unnecessary because notification will take place in any event as part of the ongoing liaison between a Department and its Assembly Committee. For example, when the junior Ministers have been requested to attend the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister, they have done so. Very clearly, all the Committees liaise, particularly —