Speakers Office

So more by way of completing the story, here’s the unrushed detail of that row between the Finance Minister and the Communities Minister, the latter of whom…

…said he would press ahead with the payments by bypassing the Executive and bringing legislation directly before the Assembly – potentially on the same day the election is called.

Last night Communities Minister Paul Givan said: “I’m asking the Speaker to reconvene the business committee, so that, urgently, this can be brought before the Assembly on Monday.

“I’ll be appealing to MLAs to vote for these regulations in order to protect individuals, because they should not pay the price for what has been happening here in this Executive, with Sinn Fein’s tactics.”

So to the detail. So it seems Minister Givan got his own Permanent Secretary to consult his legal department on the matter, and got a slightly more cautious advice when compared to the one David reported yesterday from Finance:

It stated that an earlier suggestion by Mr O Muilleoir that existing legislation could be used for bedroom tax relief payments provides “no legal basis for the kind of scheme that is contained in the present draft Regulations”.

“It would be unprecedented to introduce a new welfare scheme estimated to cost around £25m per year solely on the basis of administrative action,” the letter states.

“In light of the above, our legal advice therefore confirms that the only way for you and the Department to introduce a statutory ‘bedroom tax’ mitigation scheme is through the present draft regulation and that the laying of these regulations is the safest legal route in the present circumstances.” [Emphasis added]

That is to say that the route recommended by the Finance Minister’s advice is legal but not necessarily the safest way to set regulation.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Givan said there was no way he could do it, no way at all at all at all. He was wrong.

  • JOHN TURLEY

    If only the D.U.P were half as careful with the half a billion that is going up in
    smoke.

  • JOHN TURLEY

    Arlene said she would not step aside either., much more embarrassing now
    having McGuinness remove her.from office. bad judgement all round.

  • Granni Trixie

    Can anybody explain to me why the DUP do not get rid of AF surely they can see she is now a liability? And before you say it yes, there does not appear to be a successor in waiting but surely it has occurred to them they they need to start looking? The pressure from the public will ensure she leaves but the time when she could do so with dignity has passed.

  • ted hagan

    Sinn Fein can’t be seen to have toppled Foster. That would be a disaster for the DUP.

  • file

    She toppled herself. With her sieve-like memory: I passed whistleblowers concerns onto officials/I never received whistle-blowers concerns/I did receive whistle-blowers concerns. Also, according to NI Auditors report, she was in charge of the ministry that forgot about the April deadline to apply for renewal of approval for RHI scheme. Never mind not being across every jot and tittle, she could not even see the forest never mind the trees.

  • Granni Trixie

    As file reminds us she is the author of her own misfortune and has not lived up to expectations that she would improve the image of the DUP post Robinson. They cannot turn a corner until they reinvent themselves with a new Leader. It will be a disaster for them to continue digging their heels in which reinforces to the public that they haven’t a clue and are running on empty.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    “They cannot turn a corner until they reinvent themselves with a new Leader” Maybe they do not want to reinvent anything, they seem pretty confident they are coming back to power again after elections ?

  • grumpy oul man

    Ted. They will have to pick which is the lesser of two evils, dropping AF becausecof the mess she has made or keeping her to show SF that they are tough boyos.
    Most poltical parties would regard her as a liabilty at this point.
    Then ehat happens after the election,is the succession arranged as it was in the past for Peter and herself or will the party face a leadership election.
    I find it hard to believe that she will remain as leader, the DUP has shown a fairly united front so far but rumours abound that it is only a front to survive AF will have to have a great election (winning is great for washing away past sins) but a mediocre result will resilt in a leadership battle.

  • grumpy oul man

    They probably will be the largest party.we do love to vote tribal and shouting themmuns always helps but what if POCs wont work and its becoming obvious that new talks are inevitable.
    Does the DUP have the talent to get what they want from these.
    Peter was there big hitter at the last round and i dont think AF has the abilty he had and there is no standouts in the team.

  • file

    Keeping Foster as leader would be an advantage to SF and to all other parties. Any future mistake on her part will bring snide comments about boilers and whistle blowers and made-up misogyny and being bullied and …

  • ted hagan

    Deep into an election campaign, RSI will disappear into the background, the ‘auld enemy’ and ‘threat’ from Sinn Fein will be bought to the fore and Arlene will be safe. RSI is fresh in the public’s mind at the moment. Two months down the line, without further revelations, it will be different and the country will be in full sectarian mode. The late ‘concessions’ from the DUP will be seen by their supporters as reasonable and SF will be seen as treacherous partners hungry for a scrap.

  • grumpy oul man

    Ted i fear you are right,
    The best we can hope for is that both sets of tribal eejits don’t get enough seats to use POCs as a method of government.
    we appear not to be mature enough to govern ourselves the same way most democracy’s do.
    Mandatory coalition has been a failure, it was only meant to be a interim measure and it hard to see where we go from here. Joint authority is my preferred option and it could give us a route out of the Brexit mess but i realize that it will have its opponents, so open to suggestions!

  • grumpy oul man

    I don’t doubt that Arlene’s days are numbered but who is there to replace her,
    and who will replace Peter in the DUPs team when the renegotiation’s start.
    The Shinners may well not have Marty (but he may well advise) but they have some very competent people on board outside Pengally the DUP are short on talent.

  • Granni Trixie

    But local people eventually turned on Peter – felt he was taking their vote for granted.

  • file

    Honestly, I am not overly concerned about the DUP having a weak negotiating team. Your concerns highlight the fact that there is not a big enough talent pool in Northern Ireland for us to have high quality public representatives. I had a discussion a while ago about very few of them being ready for senior hurling.

  • grumpy oul man

    True Grannie, but he was the big hitter in the talks, arrogant with his electorate certainly but the best negotiator the DUP had by far.without him they will be entering any talks more or less unarmed.