Assembly members have come under attack after it emerged they are to be put up in hotels to complete a heavy legislative programme.
Despite the deepest Budget cutbacks in memory, and the ongoing recession, MLAs will be able to claim up to £130 a night, officials have confirmed.
And even if they live within 20 to 30 miles of Stormont, they are still entitled to claim. “There is no criteria involving distance,” a spokeswoman added.
So even if only half the 108 members opt for hotels and claim just half of the maximum, the cost to the public purse would be more than £3,500 a night.
Jim Allister of the Traditional Unionist Voice party said the public would be “appalled” at MLAs being “cosseted”.