UK news MLAs still on full pay a month after Secretary of State’s threat last news
PremierLeague-News.Com - One month after Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis talked tough about docking MLAs’ pay if the Stormont Executive was not restored, the Assembly remains in limbo.
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! "One month after Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis talked tough about docking MLAs’ pay if the Stormont Executive was not restored, the Assembly remains in limbo. That means 90 MLAs are still eligible for their full, £51,000 salary while countless households struggle to pay the bills and put food on the table because of the cost-of-living crisis.Mr Lewis said in May he would wait a few weeks “at most” before taking action.He also claimed he would not be as patient as his predecessor, Karen Bradley, who waited 18 months before doing anything.The Belfast Telegraph contacted all the Assembly parties to ask if it was time to cut wages.People Before Profit’s Gerry Carroll said he would support the move, while the DUP’s Jonathan Buckley said it was not for MLAs to decide.The UUP’s Alan Chambers and Danny Donnelly of Alliance said those politicians blocking the return of Stormont should be penalised first. The Northern Ireland Office, Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the TUV had not responded by the time of going to press.Asked if wages should be cut, Mr Buckley said: “I’ve been very consistent around this. It’s not for MLAs to dictate their wage or their pay.“That’s quite rightly out of their hands and with an independent body.“As per the last three-year period that Stormont was suspended, it’s up to the Secretary of State, or whoever he wants to channel that out to, to act accordingly.”He noted that MLAs were still carrying out other duties such as running constituency services, and that his party had a mandate to stay out of government until issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol were resolved.Asked if he would accept a decision to slash his wages, Mr Buckley replied: “The pay issue is not for me to dictate.“What I will say is that the Secretary of State need not think the issue of pay or wages... will change the situation regarding the institutions not functioning.“What will address that issue is focused attention on the solution, whether that’s unilateral action via this [Northern Ireland Protocol] Bill or whether it’s by other means.“But until the protocol is dealt with, the DUP will be resolute and will honour the commitments made to the electorate.”However, Mr Chambers said cutting DUP MLAs’ pay should be the first step of a process.He added: “As public representatives, we have to respect the views of the people we represent, and there does seem to be a certain amount of anger among the public about MLAs continuing to receive their wages during this period.
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.“But in the first instance, consideration should only be given to those MLAs and parties holding the rest of us back from doing what needs to be done.“We can understand why the public would want to see pay being cut.“We will support it, but we do feel it should be directed at those preventing us doing the job we were elected to do.”While legislation rolling back many parts of the protocol is currently progressing through Westminster, Mr Chambers did not believe the Assembly would return any time soon.“I’m not overly hopeful at the moment that in the short term we are going to see the Assembly coming back,” the North Down MLA added.“We’re coming so close to recess. I think we might just find ourselves running out of time, as will Westminster in terms of progressing the legislation.“But never say never, I’m an eternal optimist. I’ll be the acting speaker when we appoint a permanent speaker, and I’m standing here, ready to carry out that task. I look forward to doing it. As far as I’m concerned, the sooner the better.”Mr Carroll said MLAs’ salaries were already “over-inflated”.“MLAs talk about a cost-of-living crisis when they are on salaries that are significantly higher than most of their constituents,” he added.“[They] are somewhat insulated from the price rises that others experience on a daily basis.“As an MLA, I have never taken the full salary. I believe that MLAs should be on the average wage so they can somewhat experience the daily pressures that their constituents face. Therefore, I have no qualms with MLA salaries being reduced.”Mr Donnelly said: “The vast majority of MLAs, including 17 from Alliance, want to do the job they were elected to do.“To turn up, sign the roll to take your salary but then refuse to do the full job is shameful.“Those MLAs currently blocking the restoration of the Assembly should not be paid their salaries.”"
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