No decision on whether to cut MLAs’ pay – Northern Ireland Secretary
Karen Bradley told MPs she was aware of public anger, but pointed out that MLAs are still working for constituents.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland says she still has not decided on whether she will cut MLAs’ pay, three months after she said she was minded to reduce the salaries.
In Wednesday’s Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Karen Bradley was taken to task by Lady Sylvia Hermon who quoted the minister’s own words back to her from March 21, where she said it was clear from conversations with the public that there was a broad desire for a change and for the issue to be addressed.
“You were mindful three months ago – minded to cut these salaries. Have you any idea how angry and fed up the general public are that MLAs are still receiving a full salary 18 months after Stormont collapsed? How can you justify treading water?” Lady Hermon asked.
Ms Bradley said she was extraordinarily aware of how angry the public are about the full salaries being paid while Stormont does not function, but mindful that MLAs still work for their constituents.
These are members of a legislative assembly that does not sit and does not legislate. Lady Hermon
“I asked for representations on what we should do from parties and MLAs, however this is people’s employment and lives and mortgage payments, and I’m mindful MLAs still work for their constituents on the whole, so I am still considering the position.”
Lady Hermon went on to tell Ms Bradley that the people of Northern Ireland will not be persuaded by her position.
When pressed on which parties objected to cutting MLA pay, Ms Bradley said it would not be appropriate to name parties or individuals.
It was revealed that it had cost the public £6.3 million in the last year to pay MLAs, excluding office costs.
Lady Hermon said the figure was an “absolutely outrageous amount of money paid to MLAs for not doing their job”.
She added: “These are members of a legislative assembly that does not sit and does not legislate.”