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Further Consideration Stage

Part of Executive Committee Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:15 pm on 26th January 2009.

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Photo of Ian McCrea Ian McCrea DUP 2:15 pm, 26th January 2009

I oppose amendment Nos 4, 5, 6 and 7. It is regrettable that we are, once again, considering amendments that fail to offer any positive contributions to the Bill.

Amendment No 4 would require the Executive Committee to agree to any determination under clause 2 by the First Minister and the deputy First Minister. However, that amendment is not required as such agreement is already required under the current ministerial code. To make things more specific to the Bill, a draft amendment to the ministerial code has been proposed. Executive approval has been gained, but that amendment will be subject to the approval of the Assembly once the Financial Assistance Bill has been enacted. Therefore, amendment No 4 is unnecessary and should not be supported.

I welcome the fact that the Alliance Party has listened to the First Minister and now considers his views as the rest of us do. Amendment No 5 would result in an additional requirement that would restrict clause 2 to exceptional circumstances. As a result, the clause would become a more restrictive version of clause 1. It would also prevent the Bill from being of any benefit in tackling poverty situations that are not considered to arise from exceptional circumstances.