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Naomi Long: That is not what I asked.
Naomi Long: It is not what I asked —
Naomi Long: 2. Mrs Long asked the Minister for the Economy for an update on the introduction of the apprenticeship levy. (AQO 702/16-21)
Naomi Long: Thank you, Madam Principal Deputy Speaker. The Finance Minister and the Economy Minister have set out an approach that will, effectively, mean that businesses will pay the apprenticeship levy but there will be no additional investment in skills as a result. Is there any scope for the Minister to undertake to ring-fence money for additional spending on professional, technical and vocational...
Naomi Long: On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. In the course of Question Time, the Minister, I think, inadvertently misled the Chamber with respect to our position on 50:50 recruitment for policing. It is not the case that Alliance supported 50:50 recruitment at any time for policing, and, indeed, it was our Minister who withdrew that provision. I would like you, Mr Deputy Speaker, to review...
Naomi Long: Further to that point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker.
Naomi Long: Further to that point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker, there is a serious issue here with respect to the fact that these are not matters of political opinion but matters of fact. The party did not support 50:50 recruitment. For the Minister to continue to insist that that is the case is now a deliberate attempt to mislead people in the Chamber.
Naomi Long: 3. Mrs Long asked the Minister for Communities to outline the action his Department is taking to improve good relations with regard to sexual orientation. (AQO 673/16-21)
Naomi Long: I thank the Minister for his answer with respect to setting out what section 75 is meant to achieve. However, I will take the opportunity to remind the Minister of the question: what action does he intend to take to improve good relations with respect to those of different sexual orientations, and can he address that specific issue in his answer?
Naomi Long: Will the Member give way?
Naomi Long: International events, Minister.
Naomi Long: Thank you. The point that I am making to the Minister is not that these are local events, but that they are international events; they are world championships. They are not supported by any government funding, but they take place in Northern Ireland on a regular basis. They are not just local events.
Naomi Long: I thank the Member for giving way. He mentions the hospitality sector. One of the big issues around hospitality is the review of licensing laws, which, at the moment, the Committee and the Minister are looking at. Will he agree with me that a more radical approach to that particular issue would be very helpful in supporting the economy and economic growth?
Naomi Long: I thank the Minister for giving way. He makes a compelling case in the assessment he does of the economic out-turn of the issues that are supported by the Executive. However, sporting events take place day and daily. There are, for example, 10 world champions in kick-boxing in my constituency. They bring people from Japan, the US and across Europe here, and they have a multiplicity of...
Naomi Long: T7. Mrs Long asked the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs whether the Department has any intention of introducing a complete ban on the use of snares, given the concerns expressed by members of the public about the continued use of snares, with recent research showing that not only are they indiscriminate and cruel but they are an inefficient method of pest control. (AQT...
Naomi Long: I thank the Minister for his response. Clearly, it is disappointing, because I think that an outright ban would be better given that, whilst they may be cost-effective, snares are an inefficient means of pest control. When does he expect the Department to be able to bring regulations forward to potentially limit the use of snares and introduce further restrictions to limit cruelty, for...
Naomi Long: That is bribery and corruption.
Naomi Long: I thank the Member for giving way. It is hugely important that we use Titanic Quarter as an opportunity to signpost exactly those kinds of things and make sure that when people come they do not arrive on a cruise ship and then disappear but stay in a hotel in Titanic Quarter and visit places as far away as Downpatrick.
Naomi Long: I am very pleased to be able to raise the issue of Titanic Quarter as a driver for the Northern Ireland economy in the Chamber today. I want to thank Minister Chris Hazzard for attending today to respond to the issues. I know that he is probably slightly jet-lagged, having been in China, and I appreciate him giving time at the end of today to respond to the debate. The development of...
Naomi Long: Will the Member give way?