Closed petition Stop MLA’s Salary until Stormont has a sitting Assembly
Northern Irish MLA’s continue to be paid around £35k a year, despite not having a sitting assembly in over two years and refusing to attend negotiations. This is unacceptable, MLA salaries should cease until a negotiation has been reached and a sitting Northern Irish Assembly has been restored.
Northern Ireland Office. (2017). https://www.gov.uk/government/news/northern-ireland-ministerial-appointments-and-regional-rates-bill
Northern Ireland Assembly. (2018). http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/your-mlas/members-salaries-and-expenses/
This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months
This response was given on 5 March 2019
While the Assembly is not sitting, the Government recognises that MLAs continue to be active in constituency work. MLA salaries have been reduced to reflect the work MLAs are currently doing.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is working hard with the Irish Government and the Northern Ireland parties to restore devolved Government. Northern Ireland needs its elected representatives back in Government to take important decisions on the issues that matter most to the people of Northern Ireland.
While the Assembly is not sitting, it is recognised that MLAs continue to be active in constituency work. On that basis it is considered appropriate for MLAs to continue to receive a salary. However it can’t be right that they continue to receive their full salary until the Executive and the Assembly are restored.
MLA pay has therefore been reduced in line with the recommendations made by former Assembly clerk and chief executive Trevor Reaney. This reduction took effect in two stages. An initial 15% reduction commenced on 1 November 2018, with a further 12.5% reduction coming into effect in January 2019. This represents a total reduction of 27.5%.
The reduction that has been implemented reflects the work MLAs have been doing in the current period and is in line with the recommendations of the Reaney report.
The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act introduced by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has created a period until 26 March where an Executive can legally be formed at any time - and the Secretary of State is focused on using the remainder of this period to work towards resumption of devolution. Our aim continues to be to re-establish a locally elected, democratically accountable devolved government as soon as possible so that decisions affecting the people of Northern Ireland are taken by locally elected ministers.
The people of Northern Ireland have already voted for a power-sharing Executive. What we now need is a period in which the requisite work and dialogue can take place between the political parties in Northern Ireland for an Executive to form.
In the event of further delay the Secretary of State will consider further reductions to MLA pay.
Northern Ireland Office.
Other parliamentary business
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee report and correspondence
You may be interested to know that a group of MPs called the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee published a report in May 2018 on devolution and democracy in Northern Ireland. The report recommended the Secretary of State take action on MLA's pay.
Read the Committee’s report:
Find out more about the Committee’s inquiry, including all the evidence it received, and read the Government's response to the report:
In December 2018, the Committee published a letter from the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland about the amount of money spent on MLA salaries. Read the letter:
More about the Committee:
What is the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee?
The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee looks at and questions how the UK Government Department, the Northern Ireland Office and its associated bodies:
• are run
• spend money
• decide on policies
It's a cross-party committee and is independent of the Government.
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