The UK has said it will cut the pay of Northern Ireland assembly members by nearly 30 per cent, as it tries to restore devolved government to the province.
The Assembly has not sat since January 2017, due to a dispute between the two main parties, the Democratic Unionist party and Sinn Fein. However, Assembly members have been receiving their annual salary of £49,500.
Karen Bradley, the UK’s Northern Ireland secretary, told parliament on Thursday that assembly members pay would be now cut in line with an official recommendation last December. That means an initial reduction of £7,425 in November, and a further £6,187 in three months’ time, bringing the total cut to 27.5 per cent.
Ms Bradley has sought to buy time – neither imposing direct rule on Northern Ireland nor calling a fresh election. She said that she planned to extend the time for calling a new election: This will provide a further opportunity to re-establish political dialogue with the aim of restoring the executive as soon as possible.” The last election was held in March 2017.