MLA claimed rent expenses for office built on his farm

The David Gordon has been doing the legwork and has turned up a very interesting detail on UUP MLA Billy Armstrong, who “claimed rental expenses for a prefab constituency office owned by his wife and based on their farm.” One of those stories that ‘everybody knows about‘, but, once made public has a dynamic all of its own… It simply refuses to go away…As Gordon notes:

Assembly members can claim up to £70,000 of public money a year for office running costs, including rent, staffing, telephone bills, heating and electricity. The figure was raised from £48,000 last year following the restoration of devolution.

No one serious doubts the hard work of many constituency MLAs, but that is up to £70, 000 for which no account is made directly back to government.