Our ‘in-out’ ministers won’t get any extra pay, says DUP

DUP leader and First Minister Peter Robinson, with Executive ministers and party deputy leader Nigel Dodds (left) at a press conference in Stormont
DUP leader and First Minister Peter Robinson, with Executive ministers and party deputy leader Nigel Dodds (left) at a press conference in Stormont

Assembly finance authorities have been instructed to stop paying the additional ministerial element of DUP ministers’ salaries, the party has said.

The DUP spokesman said that no minister will benefit financially while the party continues with its policy of resigning positions and then rejoining the Executive.

“As we have previously outlined DUP ministers will not be benefiting financially during the period of the resignations,” he said.

“We indicated that we take our posts to ensure the posts do not get reallocated to the SDLP or Sinn Fein. The party leader indicated on the day of the initial resignations that DUP ministers would not be keeping ministerial salary money.”

The spokesman added: “As the money is paid under legislation by the Assembly we have had discussions with the Assembly finance authorities about not only stopping future payments but also the repayment of any payments previously made.

“As a result of those discussions appropriate arrangements are be made to ensure that happens.”

However, Alban Maginness of the SDLP has called for “all remuneration” for DUP ministers to be stopped until they resume their roles on a full-time basis.

“The DUP 10-minute minister policy has already cost the Assembly dearly in terms of public confidence. It should not be costing the public purse on top of that.

“As working families struggle with tax credit cuts on the horizon, many will be appalled that ministers who decide when, and for how long, they work each week are being paid significant sums and continue to enjoy the trappings of high office,” he said.

TUV leader Jim Allister has also questioned the salaries and other remuneration available to ministers’ special advisors (Spads) while the ministers are absent from office.

Mr Allister said it is a “preposterous abuse of public money” that Spads are entitled to get “fully paid for every day they didn’t work”.

He said: “These cosseted Spads are in a win, win situation. It could only happen in Stormont.”

Meanwhile, former Ulster Unionist health minister Michael McGimpsey has said that patient safety is being adversely affected by the DUP health minister’s absence from office.

Mr McGimpsey said it was now clear that an emergency plan to tackle the waiting list crisis cannot be implemented until the executive meets to approve it.

“Simon Hamilton needs to get his act together and get back into office to sign off on this plan immediately. Every day the DUP engage in acts of political posturing, the worse the current situation is getting and more delayed this emergency plan will be,” he said.