SDLP first to refuse MLA salary increase and rationalise consitutuency operations

As Liam Clarke rightly notes, the decision by the SDLP leader not to take the pay rise [ahem, you mean the one he originally called for – Ed] offered by the Assembly commission will ask some serious questions of other parties, not least Sinn Fein who have previously noted their disapproval of the proposed rise, but who’s considerable party infrastructure also depends to a large extent on ‘taxing’ the salaries of their own MLAs…

“Our MLAs have agreed to decline the pay rise. Some of them are suffering severely because the commission has in effect robbed Peter to pay Paul by moving the money out of office cost allowances.”

He added: “Our priority is to ensure that we deliver a service to our constituents and the difficulty is that the commission has reduced our ability to do so by trimming allowances.”

Clarke continues:

Allowances are used to pay rents for constituency offices and to employ staff to work in them.

They will fall from £75,857 a year to £69,238 per MLA.

Even if the pay is handed back the allowances will not be restored. Dr McDonnell stated: “It is tight out there and people are suffering, people are in pain.

“A number of our MLAs say they are going to have to make staff go part-time, despite welfare cuts. We will do our best to get round that.”

The party will look at options like using libraries and community premises to see if it is possible to make the savings on rent.

“If the libraries or anyone else offers us space I will be very happy to accept it, but, as things stand, I find it difficult to get accommodation,” he said.

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  • If they’re that worried about office costs, surely they can take a leaf out of SF’s book and hypothecate the pay rise into a fund to pay for them? If the Assembly is robbing Peter to pay Paul, they can just tax Paul and give the money back to Peter. This however looks like playing to the gallery.

  • “The party will look at options like using libraries and community premises”

    I think politics, especially party politics, should be kept well away from libraries. Could they not use places they usually frequent such as council offices?

  • Mick Fealty

    Andrew,

    I think this is some evidence of ‘good’ party politics at play here…

    There is kudos in the being the first to do, even if it is about front-loading some pain… and forcing some party reps to get creative in the way they connect with their constitutents…

    Anyone who follows is, erm, following (and following the SDLP, for once)…

  • keano10

    Whatever next? Organising in The South perhaps and standing for elections there…?

    Erm.No. On second thoughts, that would be just a little too radical for the Nationalist Party who are’nt really all that Nationalist when push comes to shove…

    Bearing in mind that Alasdair got into a s**t load of trouble whwn he vociferously pushed for pay rises, I also think it’s alittle bit rich to try and intimate that the SDLP are leading the way on this and that the dimwitted public will fall for this nonsense.

    We simply are’nt that stupid as it happens….

  • michael-mcivor

    The sdlp need to be more carefull what they ask for- the please sir can i have more does not work –

  • OneNI

    “I find it difficult to get accommodation”
    Another sign that he lives in a parallel universe

  • Lionel Hutz

    Keano,

    he hardly vociferiously pushed for a pay rise. He made a gaff by saying that there should be a small pay rise when asked about it. In principle, a pay rise should be made. But practically not now.

    The Sdlp are always going to prone to the odd stumble but this is a good move. There have been alot more good moves from the party lately.

  • cynic2

    “They will fall from £75,857 a year to £69,238 per MLA.”

    Isn’t that over 3 years? SO if they are cutting £6600 over 3 years that’s about 3% a year. WOW!!!!!

    “A number of our MLAs say they are going to have to make staff go part-time, despite welfare cuts.”

    Why should welfare cuts mean a rush to MLAs offices? What can an MLA do about a welfare cut? They don’t even have a vote on it – it’s decided at the big bopy parliament in Westminster. What should MLA’s actually they be doing?

    What are our MLAs actually for? To run some sort of welfare advice services buying votes? Silly me!!!!

  • galloglaigh

    Cutting your nose off to spite your face?

  • cynic2

    “If they’re that worried about office costs, surely they can take a leaf out of SF’s book and hypothecate the pay rise into a fund to pay for them? ”

    Where has SF committed to that?

    Are they taking the rise? Or just taking the rise out of the electors?

  • Lionel Hutz

    If this commission says that allowances ought to be reduced then they ought to be reduced. Its not a get out for parties to say, “we think the pay rise is wrong but we are giving it to our allowances.” There is political capital to be made with this by the Sdlp. For all Sinn Fein’s whining, SF PLC will be pocketing an additional £130,000 that they say they shouldn’t have

  • FuturePhysicist

    Organising in The South perhaps and standing for elections there…?

    Firstly, Dé Valera’s Sinn Féin and Dé Valera’s Fianna Fáil both organised in both jurisdictions at the beginning, far from bringing about a united Ireland it, if anything re-enforced partition.

    Secondly, the SDLP does organise supporter groups in the Republic, members of these groups can stand for elections as independents or under another banner if they wish, but the SDLP, by agreement is a neutral party within the 26 counties.

  • RyanAdams

    How many MLA’s actually utilise their full expenses anyway? And why do some need TWO?!

  • RyanAdams

    *offices