25/06/2013 Stormont Today


25/06/2013

A political programme focusing on the day's events at the Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive. Mark Carruthers is the guide through the corridors of power at Stormont.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 25/06/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

today. Coming up on tonight's programme - another day at Stormont

:00:28.:00:34.

and another day debating our new planning law. Not everyone was happy

:00:34.:00:39.

with the proposals. You get cowboy planning, cowboy builders. What do

:00:39.:00:44.

you expect from cowboy politicians? The National Trust came under fire,

:00:44.:00:48.

as questions were asked about the Giants Causeway. It is

:00:48.:00:52.

disproportionate. I have to ask myself if I went with my family

:00:52.:00:58.

would I be happy to pay that amount of money to access the visitor's

:00:58.:01:05.

centre? I am not sure I would. joined by the news letter's

:01:05.:01:12.

correspondent Sam McBride. So, a second day has been spent

:01:12.:01:17.

debating the new planning law. Last night a controversial proposal to

:01:17.:01:22.

create planning zones to be by the first deputy ministers was passed.

:01:22.:01:27.

This evening another amendment was approved. We will get a flavour of

:01:27.:01:33.

the debate in a moment. First the News Letter's correspondent is here.

:01:33.:01:40.

We will touch first on the economic zones and the OFMDFM taking control.

:01:41.:01:48.

It has been called a power-grab by opponents. That is obviously how

:01:48.:01:53.

they see it? From the point of view of Alex Attwood t Planning Minister,

:01:53.:01:58.

it is taking powers which are his, which will go to local councils

:01:58.:02:03.

under the views of local administrations that the expanded

:02:03.:02:10.

councils we'll have. It has given it to the first Minister and Deputy

:02:10.:02:14.

First Minister. The Assembly would have a chance to vote op any if the

:02:14.:02:20.

Environment Minister of the time didn't agree with the creation of an

:02:20.:02:25.

economic zone in a certain area. But there was intense controversy about

:02:25.:02:30.

this. It emerged that short notice last week - there was no

:02:30.:02:34.

consultation on this. Even some of the MLAs found it sketchy, the

:02:34.:02:38.

detail of it. One sounded critical of it at

:02:38.:02:44.

points. It was an unusual debate. What about the significance of

:02:44.:02:50.

today's developments? It follows in the same way. These are seen as

:02:50.:02:54.

radical, probably more in terms of the DUP than from Sinn Fein. Both

:02:54.:02:59.

parties are signed up to these in radical ways to make the planning

:02:59.:03:05.

system faster, make it responsive to the economy. Critics say that just

:03:05.:03:09.

letting people build is not necessarily the same as economic

:03:09.:03:15.

development. The example was given of an airport and said, if for

:03:15.:03:19.

instance, they extend Belfast City airport, you display jobs from one

:03:19.:03:23.

airport to the other. It was a debate that was not informed I

:03:23.:03:28.

suppose by a great deal of time because it came at such short notice

:03:28.:03:32.

and that showed from the DUP and Sinn Fein benches. Allegations from

:03:32.:03:37.

the other parties being thrown about quassy corruption. In some cases

:03:37.:03:42.

that was denied. It has been a tough four or five days for Alex Attwood,

:03:42.:03:47.

hasn't it? It has been a bruising few days. Whether he surviving

:03:47.:03:53.

longer as minister - there were rumours he would be replaced by Joe

:03:53.:03:57.

Burn, his party colleague. It will be a huge test as to whether he

:03:57.:04:02.

moves this. He has the power, potentially, if he uses his nuclear

:04:02.:04:07.

option to stop it in its tracks. We'll hear more from you in a

:04:07.:04:12.

moment. Thank you. There were forthright and heated exchanges

:04:12.:04:16.

today. Here is a flavour of what was said. The question for the House

:04:16.:04:21.

today is whether or not we're going to choose to provide balance in our

:04:21.:04:25.

planning system or further load the dice in favour of developers. It

:04:25.:04:31.

seems the DUP are so beholden to their developer donors they have

:04:31.:04:35.

tabled a table of this today, to ensure that even if we do get, even

:04:35.:04:40.

if it is the democratic will of this House to introduce third party right

:04:40.:04:45.

of appeal, they will choose to block it. Amendment 26 is proposed this

:04:45.:04:51.

evening, this afternoon moves Northern Ireland more to a

:04:52.:04:58.

deregulated Texas-style system. The system you get coy boy planning,

:04:58.:05:06.

cowboy builders. What do you expect from cowboy politicians? I was lost

:05:06.:05:15.

for words by amendment 20, Mr Speaker. I was gobsmacked by

:05:15.:05:20.

amendment 24. I have great pride in our demock ca I have. To take --

:05:20.:05:25.

democracy. To takeaway the review that you feel are wrong, to me seems

:05:25.:05:29.

like we are taking steps towards a dictatorship. I was concerned over

:05:29.:05:35.

some of the remarks of both of the last two speakers in terms of the

:05:35.:05:41.

fact that both made sort of like snide remarks in relation to my

:05:41.:05:47.

party. It noticeable indeed - remarks such as who's pulling the

:05:47.:05:52.

springs? Can I say it seems to be that the chair of the committee has

:05:52.:05:57.

been lost for words on our amendment. I have to say I maybe

:05:57.:06:02.

give praise to the chair that someone who is lost for words seems

:06:02.:06:08.

remarkable Leigh quaous. We have a reputation when it comes to getting

:06:08.:06:11.

planning applications finally approved. That is not solely the

:06:11.:06:15.

responsibility of the current minister. It is a legacy of our

:06:15.:06:21.

legal system, where we have all seen business rivals lodge appeals in

:06:21.:06:28.

order to simply block or impede the progress of all this. Our numbers

:06:28.:06:35.

are not about, our amendments are not a numbers game. There are the

:06:35.:06:40.

number of appeals on record taken over the last few years. He's

:06:40.:06:45.

missing the point in they have damaged our reputation in regard to

:06:45.:06:51.

final decisions made. The SDLP supports third party appeals and we

:06:51.:06:57.

will support the amendment of the Green Party. We commend the minister

:06:57.:07:02.

for the proposals he has brought forward in the bill, which will deal

:07:02.:07:06.

much more effectively with enforcement against those who flout

:07:06.:07:10.

planning laws and of course the potential for a higher ceiling of

:07:10.:07:15.

fines to be enforced by the judiciary. That is something I

:07:15.:07:21.

believe u ought to be welcomed. looks like -- likes like in the

:07:21.:07:27.

future you will be able to choose any area, any side and create an

:07:27.:07:29.

economically significant planning zone and then do what you like there

:07:29.:07:35.

and you will not from amendment 26 be able to challenge it, if I

:07:35.:07:39.

understand it correctly, unless it happens to be against your human

:07:39.:07:44.

rights or against EU laws. It is a real shame on both those parties to

:07:44.:07:49.

be agreeing this. I am warning this House that if we go down this route,

:07:49.:07:56.

on this particular amendment, on any amendment, on any topic, this issant

:07:56.:08:03.

amount to a totalitarian state in the fascist mood. What you cannot

:08:03.:08:13.

challenge any longer under thisty ran anial proposition is a proposal

:08:13.:08:19.

which is unlawful by virtue of being irrational cannot be stopped, cannot

:08:19.:08:27.

be challenged by urt courts and... Oh, yes, I'll give way. Instead of

:08:27.:08:35.

it being a developer's charter, he wants it to be a lawyer's charter,

:08:35.:08:41.

where fat cat lawyers can make a fortune out of stopping jobs coming

:08:41.:08:51.
:08:51.:09:04.

coming here. That has been a case on Wlabt this, the would be -- what

:09:04.:09:09.

about this - the would be objectors. It is and planning challenging is

:09:09.:09:19.
:09:19.:09:39.

the Stormont ministers. This is them moving to try to say, get out of our

:09:39.:09:47.

territory in some ways. Thank you. Closing hospital beds, waiting times

:09:47.:09:51.

and residential care for the elderly. All issues which feature in

:09:51.:10:01.
:10:01.:10:01.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 43 seconds

:10:01.:10:45.

a statement from the Health Minister It must take place with full

:10:45.:10:55.
:10:55.:11:18.

engagement with service users so members that the future statutory

:11:18.:11:22.

care homes will be considered on a case by case basis, recognising we

:11:22.:11:27.

must do what is in the best interest of the current residents T latest

:11:27.:11:32.

statistics show that the performance improved significantly in May. The

:11:33.:11:38.

health service is not meeting the standard that 95% of patients

:11:38.:11:46.

attending an emergency department should be. . Seen within four hours.

:11:46.:11:50.

There are signs of improvement within hospital services. This can

:11:50.:11:54.

be seen, for example, in waiting times for elective care, where the

:11:54.:11:58.

number of patients waiting and the length of time they are waiting are

:11:58.:12:03.

being driven down. You had mentioned and congratulated yourself and your

:12:03.:12:08.

department on the improvement and waiting times. Do you acknowledge

:12:08.:12:10.

minister, because this is something as a committee we have been looking

:12:11.:12:15.

at, do you acknowledge this has only been achieved because there has been

:12:15.:12:19.

millions of pounds put into the private sector? Do you not accept

:12:19.:12:25.

this is a court fix approach and, as hard as this, or how we tackle the

:12:25.:12:35.
:12:35.:12:35.

issue of waiting lists in the long term? I accept we have done this

:12:35.:12:43.

using the private sector. I don't make any apologies for. I welcome

:12:43.:12:47.

the statement. But I do not welcome the fact we received little over an

:12:47.:12:52.

hour's notice of it. It runs to about 4,000 words. That it contains

:12:52.:12:57.

at least seven distinct new areas of public policy being announced and

:12:57.:13:01.

that it is going to be subject to limited scrutiny because the whips

:13:02.:13:07.

of this House have agreed that we would only have one member per party

:13:07.:13:12.

to ask questions during questions so as to expedite the business of the

:13:12.:13:19.

day. My question is this, firstly, what grounds of public policy did he

:13:19.:13:27.

override his Permanent Secretary's advice on the business cases for the

:13:27.:13:37.
:13:37.:13:37.

lis born. -- Lisbon new centres? I did not override anybody's decision.

:13:37.:13:40.

Civil servants are here to make recommendations and that is

:13:40.:13:45.

something we, as politicians, should ensure always remains the case.

:13:45.:13:51.

Health Minister, Edwin Poots. The Tourism Minister has criticismed the

:13:51.:13:56.

National Trust to charge people to use the car park at the Giants

:13:56.:14:05.

Causeway. Arlene Foster called it disproportionate. She had something

:14:05.:14:15.
:14:15.:14:21.

Ireland went across the world during the G 8 summit. We showed Northern

:14:21.:14:26.

Ireland at its best and we had the most peaceful summit in the history

:14:26.:14:30.

of G 8 summits. That is something we should be proud about and the fact

:14:30.:14:34.

it gives us stand out across the global markets. One of our

:14:34.:14:38.

difficulties from the past has been the fact that when people think of

:14:38.:14:41.

Northern Ireland think they of it in a particular way. I think the G 8

:14:41.:14:46.

will have done so much good in relation to the safety and security

:14:46.:14:52.

issues over those two short days last week. I am very pleased that it

:14:52.:14:57.

will go out across the world in a positive way. We look forward of the

:14:57.:15:01.

working the tourist board w invest Northern Ireland and Tourism

:15:01.:15:04.

Northern Ireland to make sure that Fermanagh and Northern Ireland gets

:15:04.:15:09.

the standout it deserves after the G8 summit. That is a job of work I

:15:09.:15:19.
:15:19.:15:28.

have tasked the three organisations in congratulating them. If she's

:15:28.:15:31.

asking me if I was pleased with the work carried out by the three

:15:31.:15:38.

agencies, very pleased indeed. I have no difficulty in saying I am

:15:38.:15:44.

pleased with the work of tourism Ireland. I have no difficulty saying

:15:44.:15:50.

that they provided a good job in relation to G8. I do know that there

:15:50.:15:53.

have been a number of complaints and I've listened to colleagues from

:15:53.:15:58.

across the political spectrum making those complaints in relation to the

:15:58.:16:05.

car parking at the Giant's Causeway. With the Minister agree that it is

:16:05.:16:12.

grossly unfair and a disincentive to tourism that if a car load of four

:16:12.:16:17.

people arrived to park at the Giant's Causeway, not intending to

:16:17.:16:21.

use the centre because they have already seen it, but intending to go

:16:21.:16:30.

to the stoned, that they are each charged park, which is an

:16:30.:16:35.

extortionate amount and a gross disincentive? As tourism minister,

:16:35.:16:40.

will she condemned that and press for change? I do think that there

:16:40.:16:45.

are difficulties in and around that, I think it is disproportionate. I

:16:45.:16:48.

have to ask myself if I went with my family would type the happy to pay

:16:48.:16:53.

that kind of money to access the visitor centre. I'm not sure that I

:16:53.:16:59.

would. I think The National Trust me to consider in relation to their

:16:59.:17:05.

current charging policy whether it is the correct one. We heard Arlene

:17:05.:17:10.

Foster speaking about the most peaceful G8 summit ever but it was

:17:10.:17:13.

also an opportunity for those campaigning on global issues to air

:17:13.:17:21.

their views. The IF campaign was vocal and MLAs put forward a motion

:17:22.:17:29.

to recognise that. What was the purpose of the motion? The purpose

:17:29.:17:32.

was to recognise the hard work and creative campaign that have been

:17:32.:17:39.

overawed when many organisations across Northern Ireland. And a lot

:17:39.:17:45.

of community artist that we have put on an excellent concept at the

:17:45.:17:52.

botanic Gardens, linking on three issues of tax, land and aid. The

:17:52.:17:55.

deck narration that came out of the G8 referenced work there needed to

:17:55.:18:03.

be done on a lot of those key issues. The purpose of this motion

:18:03.:18:12.

is to grab a stamp that, not to move the debate forward? It is to

:18:12.:18:19.

recognise the hard work and give the commitment of this assembly and make

:18:19.:18:22.

sure that they deliver to those commitments that they have laid out

:18:22.:18:28.

at the G8. Do you think the leaders that were involved at the G8 summit

:18:28.:18:33.

heard when you had to say and acted upon the calls that you made?

:18:33.:18:40.

think that they did. The campaign was a hugely uniting campaign. We

:18:40.:18:49.

were able to make the case direct to the Prime Minister at Westminster.

:18:49.:18:52.

Someone said there had been a bit of a seachange in the way that these

:18:52.:18:57.

issues were discussed. The making poverty work campaign a few years

:18:57.:19:03.

ago found it hard to get any traction but the IF campaign did

:19:03.:19:13.
:19:13.:19:17.

have an impact. It did, and other campaigns as well. These campaigns

:19:17.:19:25.

are having an impact. A split in the Executive on pension reform last

:19:25.:19:28.

November which stopped Westminster legislative issue on behalf of the

:19:28.:19:32.

pig sector workers here meant separate legislation was brought

:19:32.:19:38.

before the house today. The second stage of the Service Pensions Bill

:19:38.:19:44.

was moved by Sammy Wilson. object of the bill is introduced

:19:44.:19:47.

major changes to public service pensions in Northern Ireland from a

:19:47.:19:55.

rope 2015. The Bill which I put in the Assembly in 2012 kids in fact to

:19:55.:20:05.
:20:05.:20:12.

the principles of tension reform agreed an executive in March. The

:20:12.:20:19.

model to be adopted for general use in the public services schemes. The

:20:19.:20:24.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury made it clear that a proportional

:20:24.:20:30.

reduction will be applied to the Northern Ireland block allocation if

:20:30.:20:32.

registration to reform public service pension arrangements in

:20:32.:20:37.

Northern Ireland is not concluded to the deadline to the deadlines

:20:37.:20:46.

contained in the Westminster public services pensions act 2013. It was

:20:46.:20:51.

evident that a full macroeconomic analysis or appraisal has not been

:20:51.:20:56.

undertaken of the proposed pension reforms, either locally by the

:20:56.:20:59.

Department or in Britain by the Treasury or as part of the initial

:20:59.:21:08.

Houten review. Representatives emphasise the need to assess the

:21:08.:21:11.

impact of increasing the age of retirement, taking turns of

:21:11.:21:15.

displacement in the labour market and the correlation between this and

:21:15.:21:21.

youth unemployment. The committee will continue to support the

:21:21.:21:23.

Minister in this process and ensuring that consideration of the

:21:23.:21:28.

bill is given priority, but that should not be at the expense of

:21:28.:21:34.

robust scrutiny. This will represent a further attack on public sector

:21:34.:21:41.

workers who have already faced a freezes and a rise in pension

:21:41.:21:45.

contributions as result of previous legislation. This further attack has

:21:45.:21:50.

been pushed through the Assembly by the Finance Minister at a time when

:21:50.:21:54.

his colleagues and indeed all of the parties in the Assembly are seeing

:21:54.:22:02.

their own individual salaries rise. Historically when pitted against the

:22:02.:22:09.

private sector, the public sector was viewed as low on power with

:22:09.:22:19.
:22:19.:22:19.

salaries, but other benefits work accepted. A salary cap has emerged

:22:19.:22:27.

between the two sectors in the opposite direction. I know that the

:22:27.:22:34.

STL P are always looking for an opportunity to poke the main parties

:22:34.:22:42.

in this assembly in the eye -- SDLP. They love particularly taunting Sinn

:22:42.:22:51.

Fein. We are more socialist than you are, we are redder than you are. He

:22:51.:22:58.

should be read in the face after that's each!. Londonderry seems to

:22:58.:23:02.

be the centre of the world at the moment and it was no surprise when

:23:02.:23:12.
:23:12.:23:12.

the British Irish Council to the decision to meet their last week.

:23:12.:23:16.

This summit again underlined the British Irish Council's unique role

:23:17.:23:19.

in developing links between its member administration through

:23:19.:23:24.

positive actual relationships and providing a forum for consultation

:23:25.:23:30.

and exchange of information on matters of mutual interest. The

:23:30.:23:36.

council welcomed the hosting of the summit in Londonderry train the city

:23:36.:23:46.
:23:46.:23:47.

's tenure as UK City of Culture 2013. The first item on the agenda

:23:47.:23:52.

was a presentation to the council by the chief executive of the Derry

:23:52.:23:59.

Londonderry culture company. It highlighted economic benefits

:23:59.:24:04.

arising from Londonderry's selection as the first UK City of Culture. It

:24:04.:24:10.

aims to deliver a lasting legacy for the people of the city and

:24:10.:24:16.

surrounding area. I understand this is the 20th summit of the British

:24:16.:24:19.

Irish Council. The First Minister detail what he believes to be its

:24:19.:24:25.

greatest achievement? I think if the member looks at the statement he

:24:25.:24:30.

will see immediately that the greatest meant is the sharing of

:24:30.:24:34.

information, learning from the experiences of others, is about

:24:34.:24:39.

things that we should do and things we should not do. I believe it is a

:24:39.:24:44.

useful gathering of the leaders of the various administrations within

:24:44.:24:50.

the overall British Isles. I had that I will get full encouragement

:24:50.:24:55.

from my Unionist colleagues to maintain that east-west link, just

:24:56.:25:01.

as others will be encouraging us to maintain north-south links. Can I

:25:01.:25:07.

ask for his assessment on the presentation given by the culture

:25:07.:25:10.

company on this impact so far, not just for very bad for the region as

:25:10.:25:16.

a whole? The impact goes beyond that. And once most eager to listen

:25:16.:25:22.

to the presentation worthy areas that have it soon for next year's UK

:25:22.:25:28.

City of Culture. They were very much wanting to learn from the experience

:25:28.:25:33.

of the Derry Londonderry company. There was a willingness on the part

:25:33.:25:38.

of the company after the present year is over to share their

:25:38.:25:43.

experiences, both the mistakes and indeed give adages that they had

:25:43.:25:53.
:25:53.:26:04.

during the course of the year. -- the advantages. There were hot air

:26:04.:26:07.

balloons and music early in the morning and I thought that was

:26:07.:26:15.

something that politicians should not be involved with! The planning

:26:15.:26:18.

Bill has been dominating proceedings putting Question Time there were

:26:18.:26:23.

other legislative matters to deal with. This time it was the reform of

:26:23.:26:28.

local government, but first heritage and history book centre stage.

:26:28.:26:33.

sleeping giant of Irish tourism and potentially of Irish life is the

:26:33.:26:38.

Saint Patrick 's experience. I have been making this argument that on

:26:38.:26:46.

the far side of all the big investments, it is now the time of

:26:46.:26:51.

Saint Patrick, it is now the time of the County of town and we need to

:26:51.:26:59.

grasp that option team now and over the next two decades. Northern

:26:59.:27:03.

Ireland's natural and built heritage is one of our greatest assets but

:27:03.:27:08.

there is a skills shortage of contractors to work on such

:27:08.:27:14.

buildings. If the Minister aware of such rob them? I would welcome

:27:14.:27:20.

hearing precise details of what that might be. Part of the life of the

:27:20.:27:26.

Northern Ireland agency is to have a group of people with the skills

:27:26.:27:31.

bursary to help with the maintenance of our heritage sites. For example,

:27:31.:27:34.

the reason why the walls of Terry part in the state and condition that

:27:34.:27:40.

they are today and arguably the best they have been for decades, is

:27:40.:27:45.

because of resource and skills that exist within the Environment Agency

:27:45.:27:49.

and which are deployed for the preservation and maintenance of the

:27:49.:27:54.

walls. It been my aspiration that the house would have had the

:27:54.:27:59.

opportunity for first and second reading not just of the

:27:59.:28:08.

reorganisation bill but also of the Road traffic Bill. We have had some

:28:08.:28:12.

conversation in that regard at one executive meeting it has not yet

:28:12.:28:17.

come through to a full executive discussion. I would hope that by

:28:17.:28:23.

this Thursday the bill will be discussed by the Executive, that it

:28:23.:28:32.

will be approved by the Executive. And it has been discussed that we

:28:32.:28:38.

should have first reading next week in order that the bill and its

:28:38.:28:43.

contents with the publicly available for people to make comment on over

:28:43.:28:45.

A political programme focusing on the day's events at the Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive. Mark Carruthers is the guide through the corridors of power at Stormont, and is joined by key people from decision makers to opinion formers to make the experience enlightening and entertaining.


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS