Assembly salaries not up for review
THE REVIEW of the Agreement is underway. The outcome may not be certain although a continuation of the political impasse is the most likely bet.
What is certain is that the process of delegations, meetings, talks and proposals will drag on and on and on.
The only other thing that is certain is that the salaries and allowances paid to the recently elected MLAs will not be subject to review. MLAs currently get 70% of their salaries - £31,817 - even though the Assembly has now been suspended for 16 months. They also get pensions and allowances which include, for example, child care allowances. Most workers can only dream of getting their child care costs paid on top of their salaries but the Government is prepared to cover these costs for MLAs even though they are not at work.
Not at work as MLAs that is! When John Spellar, "Minister for Paying Big Salaries to MLAs", was asked if the salaries and wages would be paid even if the politicians had other jobs, he replied: "It would be very difficult...to identify the outside salaries or sources of income...of individual members. We have to look at cases in the round and treat Members alike."
In other words the £31,817 will be paid no matter whether the MLAs have other jobs or outside sources of income. This is the same Government that is insisting that civil servants must have a nil per cent increase this year! And this is the same John Spellar who insists that we will all have to pay charges of around £600 a year for water!