Pennies for the guys

The expenses saga at Westminster seems to have lead to ridiculous officiousness at Stormont. The most recent returns from MLAs show some strange claims alongside their claims for tens of thousands (I got bored after the Cs but it does continue)

£1.33 Cathal Boylan
£0.56 Allan Bresland
£0.56 Thomas Buchanan
£0.14 Fred Cobain

  • Justin Case…

    You are wrong to make an issue of this Mr McGregor.

    The slightest bit of investigation would see that most of the smaller claims are Recovery of Stationery costs – NI Assembly. Now from what I assume that means is if for example Mr Cobain went to the stationary desk at Stormont and asked for a biro pen then they would take a note of that and claim it back through his OCA, hence the 14p. I doubt there is an Easons built onto the side of Stormont…

  • Mark McGregor


    I’m more suggesting the cost of accounting procedures for 14p may outweigh any public worth.

    If they aren’t telling us what they claim these ridiculously small sums for, why waste further money putting the ‘detail’ online?

  • slug

    Fred Cobain comes across well. The UUs shoud put him forward more.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Mr McGregor,
    So your issue is not that they are reclaiming these small sums…..but rather they are wasting time and effort putting it all online…….so that er……well……you can read it…..and er publicise it all over again.

    You see the discrepancy dont you.
    Damned if they do. Damned if they dont.
    So much for Freedom of Information.

  • Mark McGregor

    Hey, troll. Back under your bridge.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Ah I was right then.

  • Mark McGregor


    There’s more than a few of them enter very small sums like that. We’ve no idea why or for what.

  • Mark McGregor

    And I am suggesting officiousness not trying to get an extra 20p!

  • slug


    Bored, much?

  • Mark McGregor


    Like you wouldn’t believe.

    I read Stormont expenses, I must be the saddest and boredest man in the world!

  • Justin Case…


    Please listen to me and you will understand.

    When an MLA sits in their office and goes ‘oh I am out of staples’ they will dander along to the stationary office and ask for a new box of staples. The nice boy or girl behind the desk will politely hand across them staples whilst pulling out a file including a list of all the MLA’s and will then go on to note down that the above MLA has claimed a box of staples.

    There is nothing wrong with that. Its like having a credit card. You can buy away with it and then every so office you pay it back.

    Oh and now that you realised that you’ve made a mistake in posting this blog you change the topic onto why do the NI Assembly even bother about such small sums. Well one word; transparency. It is tax payers money so it all needs to be accounted for.

    Really this is a non story

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Mr McGregor is on a roll with bad choices recently.
    You did however leave out the bit where the boy or girl in the Stationary Office will mutter “pompous ignorant moron” or “hes a nice man” as the MLA leaves the office.

    The Stationary Office, canteen, photocopying room are the places where an enterprising journo might find out what are most loved and hated politicians are REALLY like.

  • sdelaneys

    Fitzjameshorse, (12) I think you’ve got something there all right about the stationary office and so on.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    No general is a hero to his batman.

  • padraig

    There [b]is a life [/b] out there.

    It is Spring time. The days are brighter.

    Get out and about enjoy yourself. Forget about Slugger, enjoy yourself. Take the anorak off, enjoy yourself.

  • nick

    Another embarrassing thread from the Cringe Factor-lol

  • Pigeon Toes

    I want to know what the “Stationary” office is?

    Are all the rest, constantly on the move a lá Harry Potter?

    No wonder most of our esteemed MLAs are so permanently bewildered looking.

  • articles

    Reminds me of the old saucy seaside postcards

    MLA : Do you keep stationery?
    Stationery office girl: No I like to wriggle a bit

    Is this what politicos mean by wriggle room?

  • Mark,

    perhaps on a more substantive story what your take on the proposed closure of Catholic schools?

  • Comrade Stalin

    What I found even more interesting was the expenditure of around £200-£300/month on electricity being typical for our representatives. That is extremely expensive.

    If I work at home for one week my electricity costs are around £15. That’s having two computers on all day, making lunch, boiling kettles, the odd printout, etc.

    I wonder what it is that causes so much electricity to be used ? The only thing I can think of is the shop front signage a lot of MLAs have on their offices. Or something strange about NIE’s business electricity rates.

  • Rory Carr

    If say, Fred Cobain, requisitioned one of these HM Stationery Office ballpens for office use and was subsequently charged say, 0.14p and then went on to say, write out a betting slip for say, £2 on Kauto Star to win tomorrow would he not be obliged to make a deduction on the claim equivalent to the amount of ink expended in this effort, which is after all, a purely personal use?

    Then there’s the matter of telephone calls. It is all very well claiming for a call to a government department inquiring about a matter pertaining to a constituent, but what if old Fred has got a bit chummy with the department Johnny over the years and in the course of the conversation he happens to ask him how he rates Kauto Star’s chances, should he not then take care to deduct the cost of this part of the conversation from any subsuquent claim?

    I shall now have to devise a more strict and precise accounting system to be employed by all these elected officials just to make sure that they are being reimbursed only for expenses incurred wholly and necessarily in the pursuance of their duties.

    I expect that Mark, my fellow Sluggerites and all good citizens will now rush to applaud my efforts in this regard.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    You should already have a strict accounting system in place. As your accountant will advise all expenditure must be wholly necessarily and exclusively involved in the business.
    Thus an MP claimed back the money spent on buying a poppy for Remembrance Sunday as this was an expenditure they could justify in terms of his role as an MP. He paid the money back of course (on the basis of the public uproar rather than the actual accounting error).
    Telephones, Electric etc are divided in proportion to the allowable business proportion.

  • Comrade Stalin

    padraig, it’s been drizzly out here in Whiteabbey all morning, so I reserve the right to be a miserable git.

  • Davros

    They’re all being ripped off on toner costs.

  • cynic47

    Some rent still being spent in the Ballymena area I note. All joking aside the Assembly may not be helping the economy much but by heavens it is sure as heck making a contribution to it. It has also reduced the national unemployment figures by a few percentage points and its by and large unemployables that it has helped take off the streets. As an aside does anyone agree with me that new boys on the block, by party appointment, shouldn’t have the title of MLA. Can anyone suggest a more fitting title for them? I’ll start the ball rolling with SIMLA…thats “shoe in MLA”.

  • sdelaneys

    17.”I want to know what the “Stationary” office is?

    Are all the rest, constantly on the move a lá Harry Potter?” pigeon toes.

    Now I’m puzzled too as the comma after rest suggests that there is a final piece missing from your question.
    This spelling and grammar is a devil to get right all the time.

  • Border Fox

    I would agree that the comma between rest and constantly is superfluous.

    I would also suggest that “à la Harry Potter” would be preferable to “a lá Harry Potter”.