‘Legal technicalities’ delaying pay cut for MLAs

Secretary of State Karen Bradley
Secretary of State Karen Bradley

The government needs to overcome employment law technicalities before making a final announcement on cutting the pay of members of Stormont’s crashed assembly, Karen Bradley has said.

The Northern Ireland secretary said in March she was “minded” to reduce MLA salaries by almost a third, to reflect the fact the devolved institutions have not sat for around 18 months.

But with a definitive move still to materialise three months down the line, Mrs Bradley has faced accusations of dithering.

Many Assembly members acknowledge they should be paid less than their £49,500 salary because they are not fulfilling their roles as legislators.

In March, the Northern Ireland secretary said she could cut the pay packet to £35,888 – a 27.5% reduction recommended by an independent review carried out by former assembly chief executive Trevor Reaney.

“I am still minded to follow Trevor Reaney’s recommendations,” Mrs Bradley said.

“This is an employment issue here – we are going to cut people’s pay – so I just need to make sure we have got all the technicalities and legalities sorted. We’ve got to make sure those technicalities and legals are right.”