Belfast Telegraph

Secretary of State James Brokenshire questions continued salaries for MLAs

By Staff Reporter

Secretary of State James Brokenshire says the continuing payment of wages to Northern Ireland's MLAs - despite the fact Stormont hasn't sat since January - should be examined.

In a speech to the British-Irish Association in Cambridge last night, the Secretary of State warned that the current situation of drift could not continue indefinitely.

In the absence of devolution, he said that Northern Ireland was on a "glide path" to greater UK government involvement in the day to day running of the province.

"We will need to consider carefully a range of other issues reflecting public concern, including whether it can continue to be justified to pay Assembly members who have not met for several months now," he said.

Last week the Belfast Telegraph revealed that primary legislation is required to change salaries and allowances for members of the Assembly.

But Alan McQuillan, who sat on the Independent Financial Review Panel (IFRP), said the Secretary of State could stop MLA wages in just a couple of weeks if he chose to do so.

Up to £14m is been paid to Stormont's 90 MLAs in salaries, expenses and pension contributions per year. They are still getting paid despite the Assembly not sitting for nine months.

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