So the boundaries changes are stuck. Nothing to do with us, or our MLAs. Nick Clegg turned ona sixpence and decided not to play ball, after losing the AV referendum. The proposed changes would almost certainly end the UUP as a Belfast party, and severely challenge the remaining SDLP representatives.
But Liam Clarke’s been crunching numbers. And whilst Stormont’s MLAs get less than anyone else in the UK, he shows some good reason for it:
In Westminster an MP is paid £65,738 and here an MLA gets £43,101, just 65.6% of a Westminster salary. But when you look at how much they are paid per constituency the picture changes – an MP gets 65p for each person represented but an MLA gets £2.64, more than four times as much.
Compared to an MLA’s £2.64, an MSP in Scotland is paid £57,521, far more than an MLA, but the MSP gets only £1.44 per constituent. In Wales an Assembly Member gets £53,852, which works out at £1.08 per head in the constituency.
It couldn’t be clearer that, compared to other jurisdictions, we don’t pay our MLAs particularly well. We may not attract the most able people, but, on the other hand, we are grossly overstaffed.
Quite. Productivity levels are hard to measure, particularly within the legislative body.
Counting legislative units hardly gives a robust measure, though the number of European fines awarded on foot of ministerial inaction might give a clearer impression of how ineffective the assembly is at bringing the Executive to account.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty