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18 October 2010

Happening this week at the Assembly

With the Comprehensive Spending Review due on Wednesday, it’s no surprise that all things financial are high on Assembly Committee agendas this week. The Employment and Learning Committee will be talking to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ulster, Professor Richard Barnett on his views about potential spending cuts, student fees and finance when they visit Magee College. The Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee will look at the role tourism can play in boosting the economy while the Health Committee will discuss the Executive Budget 2010. During their visit to the Beam Creative Centre in Donaghmore, the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee will look at how the arts and sports can strengthen the economy.
Other issues this week include the performance of NI Water which is still in the spotlight as the Public Accounts Committee begins its draft report. The Agriculture Committee continues to look at the Dogs (Amendment) Bill and Welfare of Animals Bill. The Justice Bill will be under the spotlight as the Committee gets an update from the Department on its principles and what it should contain. The Environment Committee will hold a special meeting on Tuesday to look at the issue of how many people fly out of Belfast City Airport while Standards and Privileges discusses the Northern Ireland Office Consultation on donations to NI political parties.
Social Development has a busy week ahead as it scrutinises the Caravans Bill as well as the Committee Chair speaking at a seminar on funding of social housing, organised jointly by the NI Assembly Research & Library unit and the Chartered Institute of Housing.
As well as the usual Plenary sessions, Committee meetings and school tour groups, Parliament Buildings plays host to a number of events this week including one that aims to raise awareness of training Guide Dogs here. Journalism students from the University of Ulster will visit the Assembly on Tuesday and Wednesday sees a reception to celebrate the Commonwealth Games Medallists and the British Council mock Council of European Union Debate.