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Green Party chief ‘with bills to pay’ seeks part-time work as Stormont members’ pay cut looms

Politicians face losing a third of their salary in the absence of a sitting Northern Ireland Assembly.

The leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland has revealed that he is actively searching for part-time work ahead of expected cuts to Memnbers of the Legislative Assembly’s pay.

Steven Agnew told the Press Association he has taken the decision because he has “two kids to care for and bills to pay”.

In December the Northern Ireland Secretary was advised to cut MLA salaries by £13,612 in the absence of a sitting Assembly at Stormont.

The powersharing government collapsed a year ago and talks to restore it have so far failed.

This has led to increased speculation about the future of the region’s politicians who face having one third of their income slashed.

All efforts to restore powersharing at Stormont have failed (David Young/PA)

“I am not looking out of politics but I have actively started looking for additional work,” Mr Agnew said.

“I am looking at offering consultancy work around leadership for social change. I still plan to keep on my role in the Assembly, but reflecting the pay cut I need to seek to make up the income elsewhere,” he added.

Mr Agnew said he is still devoting himself full-time to politics but that seeking additional work “is a necessity of making up income”.

He added: “While MLAs are well remunerated, I think anyone who loses a third of their pay has to look at how to address that.

“I have a family, two kids to care for and bills to pay.”

It comes after a former DUP executive minister said he was considering leaving politics because there is little sign of devolution returning.

Edwin Poots told BBC News NI he was seriously looking at the prospect of a new career.

“I think it’s something most wise politicians would be looking at now that the future is uncertain,” the Lagan Valley MLA said.

“We need to be looking at other options.”

In December SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan said that he might return to a law career.

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