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

The Member knows that the role of the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister is to scrutinise any functions of that office. I will know exceptional circumstances when they occur. [Laughter.]

If the Member does not know exceptional circumstances, I am sure that her constituents will be the first to tell her.

Amendment No 6 would result in an additional requirement, which would add a further restriction to clause 2 by limiting the exercise of powers to situations that are considered to be unforeseen. The purpose of clause 2 is to allow action to be taken to tackle poverty when current funding arrangements are unsatisfactory. However, that may still be necessary in situations that are not considered to be unforeseen.

Amendment No 7 has the potential to restrict the ability to take action to tackle poverty under clause 2 by removing “for any other reason unsatisfactory” from the list of grounds for intervening — even when the arrangements that are in place to provide financial assistance are unsatisfactory. It is important to retain the widest possible powers to intervene when existing arrangements for tackling poverty are unsatisfactory; they simply cannot be cut.

The amendments in group 2 demonstrate that some people in this House are intent on playing politics with poverty. That is why there is no substance in any of those amendments, and I call on the House to reject them.