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Proposal to let MLAs claim for holiday on expenses - they need to be 'refreshed once a year'

A proposal for Stormont MLAs to be allowed to claim for one family holiday a year under the Assembly's expenses rules has received cross-party support, according to reports.

The proposal was contained within a leaked report, dated April 1, obtained by the NewsLetter.

Within the document it argues that MLAs need to be refreshed once a year for the interests of a good government. And that such a trip to a foreign country would be benficial.

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The report was carried out by management consultants Blu Sky Thinking and was commissioned by the cross-party Assembly Commission.

It was not published before the Assembly dissolved on Tuesday.

The reports authors within the document said that all of the major parties expressed their support.

They said that being able to get away on holiday was the only way to escape the stress and media attention of the job.

Following a debate on what restrictions should be placed on the limit of travel, all sides compromised on a proposal that holidays could be taken anywhere in the world.

It came after a senior unionist MLA suggested that expenses claims should be restricted to holidays within the Commonwealth or British Overseas Territories as it was British taxpayers' money involved.

But nationalist MLAs branded this a "politically restrictive" move.

It is understood some politicians had been anxious about the issue emerging ahead of Assembly Elections on May 5.

Those elected to the Assembly will have to decide whether or not to approve the recommendations.

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