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Topics - Kidder81

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Voted for by MLAs, all the family members, friends and party activists they employ set for a massive pay rise

axpayers may face an annual bill of £4.2m every year to cover the increased staff and office costs of MLAs.

It comes after MLAs gave themselves the power to increase their expenses.

The plan, drawn up by the Assembly Commission which runs Stormont, is said to bring the wages of people who work for MLAs into line with other civil service workers.

MLA allowances for running constituency offices will also increase from £4,900 to £7,000 per annum.

Move supported

The Assembly Commission is made up of all the main parties.

The changes were supported by DUP, Sinn Féin and the SDLP.

Those at the top end, Grade Three, can now be paid up to £36,100, up from a limit of £22,750. For a Grade One staff member the top salary is now £23,490 up from £18,000. For a Grade Two staff member, the top salary will be £29,400, up from £19,750.

The payments will be backdated to 1 April.

The allowances of MLAs to run their constituency offices will also increase from £4,900 to £7,000 per year.


After examining the figures, Alan McQuillan, who is a member of the Independent Financial Renew Panel, said he was "astonished" by some of the increases.

"A 46% rise, 37% of that in cash, 5% extra paid into their pensions, and on top of that, they gave them an extra eight days a year leave, which is worth another 4% in pay.

"And they're giving them a new sick pay scheme, whereby if a member is off sick, they'll get six months full pay and six months half pay.

"It's a most amazing package. I don't think there's ever been a package of this size in the Northern Ireland public sector, and it's being delivered in the teeth of all the economic problems we face today.
Mr McQuillan said that when the Independent Financial Renew Panel set the pay originally, the salaries were benchmarked against "a basket of salaries drawn from the major sectors - health, teaching, the public sector and private sector".

MLAs vote for assembly commission to set expenses
Will the fox get the run of the chicken coop?
He added: "To give you an example, under this new system, the top senior staff in an MLA's office, taking calls from the public, writing letters for the MLA and jobs like that, are now going to be earning more than a mid-scale registrar in a hospital.

"That's a fairly senior doctor dealing with critically-ill patients and a degree that took five or six years. That doctor is now going to be earning the same salary as a person sitting in an MLA's office who doesn't have to have any qualifications at all."

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Analysis: BBC News NI Political Correspondent Gareth Gordon

There have been well-documented abuses by some - by no means all - MLAs in the past in terms of expenses.

The fact that the Assembly was down for almost three years didn't help the public mood.

Neither did the fact that they were only back a matter of days when they were awarded a 1% pay increase by an independent body in January.

Everyone, across the board, handed it back as they knew it was not the right time.

Effectively, the Assembly Commission's decision to take it upon themselves to award a new allowance and expenses regime means that staff employed by MLAs are now set for a big pay increase.

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A controversial decision not to allow MLAs to put contact details on signage outside their offices has also been reversed.

They can now also run satellite surgeries away from their constituency offices.

General discussion / Spotlight BBC1 now - Stormont MLAs rent scams
« on: November 18, 2014, 10:42:05 PM »
They are some fckn crowd of chancers

General discussion / The Disappeared - RTE1 now 21.35 & BBC1 22.35
« on: November 04, 2013, 09:38:45 PM »
Starting now on RTE1, with Darragh McIntyre investigating the Disappeared. Same programme on BBC1 tonight at 22.35

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