There should be no increase to MLA's salaries - Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff has welcomed the publication of the report of the Independent Financial Review Panel into MLA salaries, allowances, expenses and pensions.
Mr McElduff has particularly welcomed the projected savings of £3m to the public purse and reiterated Sinn Féin's opposition to any increase in MLA salaries
Speaking following the release of the report today Mr McElduff said:
“I welcome the publication of the report. It was Sinn Féin who pressed for the establishment of this independent body. We did so to ensure that these matters are dealt with in an open and transparent manner and that MLA’s are not left in a position of deciding on their own salary.
“Throughout the consultation on these issues we maintained the position that there should be no increase to the salary arrangements for MLA’s. That remains our position.
“We believe it would be hypocritical for MLA's to be contemplating an increase in the current economic climate when everyone else is expected to cope with the effects of the recession. It is our view that the current remuneration is adequate.
“We have only had an opportunity for a quick study of the report. We welcome the indication of the report that the implementation of its recommendations will result in £3m savings to the public purse between now and 2015.
“However we have misgivings about the proposed increase in MLA salaries set alongside a reduction in Office Cost Allowances. One reading of this suggests that constituency service monies will be used to finance an increase in MLA salaries. This would not be acceptable to Sinn Féin.
“This amounts to removing monies from front line constituency work and placing it in the pockets of MLA’s. Sinn Féin will certainly not contemplate such an outcome. Sinn Féin MLA's take the average wage and contribute the rest of their salaries to the delivery and expansion of constituency services for those we represent.
"We will now consider what steps we have to take to maintain this situation and to ensure that constituency services are maintained at the current level.”