Stormont Assembly members rake in more than £10m since collapse of powersharing

Stormont Assembly members have received more than £10 million in salaries and other contributions since powersharing collapsed.

The total was revealed by Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley in correspondence released by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee of MPs.

Karen Bradley has cut the pay of legislators significantly after an independent report recommended the measure.

Stormont public representatives received a full-time salary from January 2017 until October last year even though the Executive was suspended and Assembly members were not passing legislation.

In a letter, Ms Bradley said £10.8 million was spent on salaries, pension and social security costs from January 2017 up to the end of October last year, an uplift on the amount previously quoted for salaries alone.

She added: “I recognise the justifiable interest that members of the committee have in relation to the amount paid to MLAs.”

Ms Bradley previously reminded the committee that she cut Assembly members’ pay earlier last autumn.

It happened in two stages – the first cut of £7,425 was followed three months later by a further reduction of £6,187.

Northern Ireland has been without a ministerial Executive since January 2017 after former powersharing partners the DUP and Sinn Fein fell out over the handling of a botched green energy scheme.

The pay cut was suggested more than a year ago. Former Assembly chief executive Trevor Reaney recommended the reduction until an Executive is resurrected.

Allowances for staff were not reduced.

Ulster powersharing
Ulster powersharing

Assembly members continue to provide a constituency service and lobby civil servants on a range of issues.

Repeated rounds of negotiations have failed to persuade Sinn Fein and the DUP to patch up their differences over powersharing.

Tensions between Northern Ireland’s two largest parties over Brexit have exacerbated divisions.

Talks led by the Northern Ireland Office failed amid trenchant criticism from Sinn Fein of the Government.