Belfast Telegraph

MLA pay cut report cost £5k... and is now gathering dust

By Adrian Rutherford

A report on cutting MLA pay cost nearly £5,000, it has emerged.

The document, published last December, advised the Secretary of State to cut members' salaries by £13,612 in the absence of a sitting Assembly.

However, six months on, it has not been acted upon.

Now it has emerged the report cost £4,696 to produce.

The figure was obtained by TUV leader Jim Allister, who told Secretary of State Karen Bradley to take urgent action.

"Having written to the Secretary of State on the matter I have discovered that report which recommended reducing MLA pay cost £4,696.65," Mr Allister said.

"More than six months after the report was completed no action has yet been taken so, far from saving the public money, the only thing commissioning this work has done is cost even more. The situation cannot go on. It is long past time for the Secretary of State to act."

The report suggested cutting salaries in two stages so as not to impact on MLAs' "personal circumstances".

A government spokesperson said: "Over the past few months, the Secretary of State has focused on the best way to achieve the restoration of devolved government, whilst ensuring the good governance of Northern Ireland in the interim.

"The Secretary of State continues to work closely with the five main political parties in Northern Ireland, and the Irish Government as appropriate, to encourage and support work towards getting an Executive back up and running. This remains a top priority for the UK Government.

"The Secretary of State has made clear that she is minded to reduce MLA pay in line with the recommendations of [report author] Trevor Reaney.

"As the Secretary of State has stated, she is carefully considering all the details and will set out the next steps in due course."

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