Mothballed Stormont still paying £30,000 a month for TV service

Jim Allister said the situation was symptomatic of Stormont's 'culture of squander'
Jim Allister said the situation was symptomatic of Stormont's 'culture of squander'

Taxpayers are being billed over £30,000 a month to watch coverage of the NI Assembly, despite the fact that the institutions have not been up and running since January.

BBC’s Nolan Show has revealed the Assembly is paying out just shy of £400k per year to a private firm which broadcasts debates in the chamber and committee meetings.

However, with the power-sharing institutions having collapsed almost six months ago, there has been nothing for the company to broadcast.

TUV leader Jim Allister said the situation was a “symptom of Stormont’s culture of squander”, adding: “It is astounding that a contact such as this would be entered into with no get-out clause.”

A member of the NI Assembly Commission told the News Letter: “With hindsight, those drawing up the contract would have ideally put in a clause which would have taken account of a political breakdown.

“There is a meeting of the commission scheduled for early July. If the Assembly is not back up and running and there is an opportunity to end this contract, then of course we will be doing that.

“If there is not, then we will have to meet our legal requirements to the company.”