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Summary

  1. The Regional Development Committee tabled a motion stating it had "lost confidence in the Department for Regional Development's ability to effectively manage and maintain its budget".
  2. MLAs passed the further consideration stage of the Reservoirs Bill. The bill aims to ensure that reservoirs were managed so as to minimise the risk of flooding as a result of dam failure.
  3. The final stage of the Ombudsman and Commissioner for Complaints (Amendment) Bill passed.
  4. Finance Minister Arlene Foster and Health Minister Simon Hamilton appeared at Question Time.

Live Reporting

By Robin Sheeran and Laura Trueman

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all for today

    The Assembly has adjourned for the day.

    Join us tomorrow morning from 10am when the Regional Development Minister, Danny Kennedy, will appear before his committee to give a briefing on the impact of reductions to his budget.

  2. Minister responds

    The Education Minister, John O'Dowd, responds to the debate.

    John O'Dowd

    He says parents and staff need to alert the school planning authorities of their views so that they can shape the educational provision to meet the current need.

    Mr O'Dowd says that in the 2015/16 academic year, three children remain unplaced in east Belfast and one in the south east of the city.

    "We will continue to work with their parents in securing educational provision for those children," he adds.

  3. 'Lack of strategy'

    Sammy Douglas

    The DUP's Sammy Douglas says there is "lack of strategy".

    "Every year there seems to be an absolute sense of chaos," he adds.

    Chris Lyttle of Alliance says 15 pre-school settings and eight 8 primary school settings were over-subscribed in East Belfast this year.

  4. 'Missing out'

    Michael McGimpsey

    Ulster Unionist Michael McGimpsey says no parent should be coming to him saying "they are missing out" because they are not meeting certain criteria.

    Anna Lo of Alliance says Carryduff "is crying out for more school places".

    Ms Lo says many pupils are having to "bypass the schools" closer to where they live.

  5. 'Slash-and-burn'

    Mairtin O Muilleoir

    Mairtin O Muilleoir of Sinn Fein says he acknowledges there is "some difficulty in getting pre-school places".

    The SDLP's Fearghal McKinney says he recognises there are budgetary pressures but the "plans currently cannot be a slash-and-burn exercise".

    He says certain areas are growing much faster than the educational provision is catering for.

  6. 'Much concern'

    Robin Newton

    Robin Newton of the DUP says there is "much concern" around school provision in the area, but says he wishes to acknowledge there "has been some improvement".

    He says there is a need to build confidence amongst parents and staff that the issues they raise will be resolved.

  7. Fourth choice

    Mrs Cochrane says parents have come to her who have failed to get their child into their fourth choice of primary school.

    "What is being done in relation to proper area planning?" she asks.

    The East Belfast MLA also addresses a strain on budgets.

    "When budgets are so tight, the focus must be on reducing the administrative burden," she says.

  8. Adjournment debate

    Judith Cochrane

    The Assembly has been getting through today's business much faster than expected, and Judith Cochrane of the Alliance Party brings her adjournment debate on nursery and primary school provision in East and South Belfast an hour and half earlier than planned.

    She says her constituents have raised complaints about the lack of pre-school provision in the area.

    "It is surely an issue which calls for constant review," she says.

  9. Fatal foetal abnormality

    Anna lo

    Anna Lo of Alliance asks the minister on what legal guidance he believes fatal foetal abnormality can be dealt with rather than through legislative change.

    The minister says he will deal with the matter "with the greatest of sensitivity".

    Mr Hamilton says his concern is that with legislation "there is a risk it can get changed, altered, amended through the various processes in this house, it may not make it through all the processes in this house".

    He says the worst possible outcome is to do nothing.

    "I believe that new guidance has the potential to deal with many of the issues that have unfolded in the last number of years," Mr Hamilton says.

    He adds that he will bring forward regulations to the Executive "in the not too distant future".

  10. 'Acute to community'

    John McCallister

    Independent unionist John McCallister asks the minister how much care has "moved from acute to community".

    He says many people think Transforming Your Care has gone.

    The minister says "it isn't anything that is dead by any means at all. It is something that continues, albeit not at the pace that I or many of the rest of us would like to see, but that is obviously something that is being affected by resources".

  11. 'Cornerstone of my vision'

    Fearghal McKinney

    The SDLP's Fearghal McKinney says that, in the light of concerns raised about the Transforming Your Care health reforms, it is "absolutely paramount" that community services are invested in.

    The minister says that Transforming Your Care is a "cornerstone of my vision for health and social care in Northern Ireland".

    Mr Hamilton says he believes Mr McKinney understands the "resource constraints that I am placed under".

  12. Health Questions

    Simon Hamilton

    Minister of Health Simon Hamilton is answering questions from MLAs.

  13. 'Further significant cuts'

    Peter Weir

    The DUP's Peter Weir asks the minister if she expects the Westminster government to make "further significant cuts" in July.

    Mrs Foster says the chancellor is due to make a statement in July, and the Northern Ireland block grant will be adjusted as a result.

    "That is more reason as to why we should put in position our own budget," she says.

  14. 'Robust approach'

    Ian Milne

    Sinn Fein's Ian Milne asks about co-operation with the Scottish government.

    He says it is clear that Scotland has a "more robust approach in dealing with the Treasury than the department here".

    The minister says she is looking forward to a meeting with the Scottish Finance Minister, John Swinney, and their Welsh counterpart.

  15. Exit scheme

    Sandra Overend

    Ulster Unionist Sandra Overend asks whether the funding of the Civil Service voluntary exit scheme is dependent on the Stormont House Agreement being implemented.

    Mrs Foster says that the £700m funding made available for the scheme depends on the implementation of all aspects of the agreement, including welfare reform.

    "At present we are unable to access this funding," she says.

  16. Single Farm Payment

    Ian McCrea

    The DUP's Ian McCrea asks for assurances that Single Farm Payments will still be made if the budget process fails.

    The minister replies:

    "We will do everything within our power to ensure that that funding goes to the intended recipients."

  17. 'Absolutely catastrophic'

    Kieran McCarthy

    Kieran McCarthy asks about the minister's "phantom budget".

    He calls on all parties in the Assembly to "support a real budget".

    Mrs Foster says it would be "absolutely catastrophic" for the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) to have to step in to take control of the budget.

  18. We're back

    Question Time begins at 2pm.

    Finance Minister Arlene Foster and Health Minister Simon Hamilton are answering questions from MLAs.

  19. Motion is carried

    The motion passes with 67 ayes and 13 noes.

    The Assembly is suspended for a lunch break until 2pm.

    We'll be back then for coverage of the Finance Minister Arlene Foster and Health Minister Simon Hamilton at Question Time

  20. 'Sensationalism'

    Mr Kennedy says that "reality differs significantly from the sensationalism in this motion".

    He adds that there is a "lack of understanding" over the "£60m of pressures he faces".

    "If I did not face these pressures, I would not be making cuts."

  21. 'Sponge'

    Danny Kennedy

    The minister, Danny Kennedy, responds to the debate and sets out how he is managing his budget.

    He refers to adjustments made in-year to his budget, and in particular to road maintenance.

    "The Executive has adopted a deliberate policy of dampening my opening budget in the recognition that any surplus capital emerging later in the year, as invariably happens, can be soaked up by spend on structural maintenance," he says.

    "I have consistently made clear that this use of my department as a sponge mitigates against sensible planning and actually delivers less value for money."

  22. 'Bankruptcy

    John McCallister

    Independent Unionist John McCallister says this is a motion where people have decided "to gang up on the minister".

    "Meanwhile, the entire Executive of Northern Ireland is hurtling down the tracks towards practically bankruptcy," he adds.

  23. 'Scurrilous spin'

    David McNarry

    UKIP's David McNarry says he has taken "great exception" to "any scurrilous spin that two weeks ago we met to gang up on the department resulting in the motion before the house today".

    "This is not a fantasy motion," he says.

    "This department has only themselves to blame as this motion is borne out of frustration and bewilderment after listening to evidence from senior officials falling apart under deep probing and close scrutiny of their decisions and actions."

  24. 'Catch a grip'

    Mike Nesbitt

    Ulster Unionist Mike Nesbitt refers to wider budget concerns within the Executive.

    "If this committee is serious about criticising the financial management of the DRD, would they catch a grip and look at what the two main parties of government are doing with their budget".

  25. 'Personal attack'

    Jim Allister

    Jim Allister of the TUV questions the "motivation of the debate".

    He says the committee chairman had said the bringing of the motion was not to have a "personal attack on the minister".

    "He spent the first four minutes of his speech indulging in precisely that," Mr Allister says.

  26. 'Laissez-faire private approach'

    Roy Beggs

    Ulster Unionist Roy Beggs refers to an earlier comment made by the committee chairman, Trevor Clarke, in relation to "the department propping up Translink".

    He says he "values public transport" and "he doesn't wish to go towards a situation of having the laissez-faire private approach where many of the vulnerable rural routes will be at risk".

  27. 'Frustrated'

    Cathal O hOisin

    Sinn Fein's Cathal O hOisin is critical of the relationship between the DRD and its committee.

    He says he has been "frustrated at the methodologies employed, time taken to make decisions and the outcomes and results".

    Joe Byrne of the SDLP says he supports the motion but "it is a gross mistake to kick the minister and blame him for all of the ills and difficulties that are currently prevailing".

  28. 'Shortfall of £60m'

    Alex Easton

    Alex Easton of the DUP says that this financial year the Department for Regional Development (DRD) has a budget of "around £333m - about £11m less than the last financial year".

    He says that DRD is "claiming they have a shortfall of £60m in their budget".

  29. 'Serious concern'

    Chris Lyttle

    Chris Lyttle of Alliance says he supports the motion.

    He explains that he thinks it is "only right that the committee for regional development express its serious concern for a minister for regional development that is operating a budget that is at risk of exceeding its limits".

  30. 'Utterly ridiculous'

    Ross Hussey

    Ulster Unionist Ross Hussey defends the minister, who is his party colleague.

    He says the motion amounts to "nothing more than petty political point-scoring".

    "It is utterly ridiculous that the minister is being hauled in front of the Assembly twice this week and in front of the committee tomorrow to explain why he has lived within the budget he has been allocated," he adds.

  31. 'Awful shambles'

    John Dallat of the SDLP says he acknowledges that the minister has inherited "an awful shambles from the past".

    He adds that Translink and Northern Ireland Water "need to change" and get "with the times".

    John Dallat

    "The cosy relationship that existed between the department, Translink and Northern Ireland Water in the past doesn't work any more," he adds.

  32. Safety of road users

    Declan McAleer

    Sinn Fein's Declan McAleer says that cutbacks within the department will have a "great impact on the most vulnerable in our community".

    He says he is concerned about the safety of road users.

  33. Translink

    Mr Clarke is critical of the Regional Development Minister, Danny Kennedy, and his officials, who he says "continue to prop up their pet project - that being Translink".

    "The continue to prop up an organisation that, in the words of the current chief executive, will cease to operate in two years time if the public purse does not continue to pump hundreds of millions into it," he says.

    Translink is the public company that provides bus and rail services in Northern Ireland.

  34. 'Fatally compromised'

    Mr Clarke says recommendations offered by the committee have not been taken on board.

    "The minister and his officials have consistently ignored advice and instead have opted for the budgetary version of Russian Roulette that now sees our street lights out and the safety of our drivers and vulnerable users on the road being fatally compromised," he says.

  35. DRD's management of budgets

    Trevor Clarke

    Committee chairman Trevor Clarke of the DUP, is proposing a motion brought by the Regional Development Committee, which states that members have "lost confidence in the Department for Regional Development's ability to effectively manage and maintain its budget".

    The motion says the department has an "over-reliance on in-year monitoring" and is at risk of "exceeding its 2014-2015 budgetary control limits". It calls on the minister, Danny Kennedy, to set out his strategy for the next financial period.

  36. Ombudsman and Commissioner for Complaints Bill

    Mike Nesbitt

    Mike Nesbitt of the UUP, who chairs the OFMDFM (Office of the First and Deputy First Minister) Committee is speaking on the final stage of the Ombudsman and Commissioner for Complaints (Amendment) Bill.

    The bill's intention is to extend the maximum period for which an acting Assembly Ombudsman for Northern Ireland and an acting Northern Ireland Commissioner for Complaints may hold office.

    The bill passes on an oral vote.

  37. Reservoirs Bill

    The consideration stage of the Reservoirs Bill passes without a debate when the DUP's Trevor Clarke does not move his amendment.

  38. Good morning

    Our live coverage of proceedings begins at 10.30am when MLAs will be debating the further consideration stage of the Reservoirs Bill.