The Cost of Politics?

I know we were all fascinated by the salaries our politicians collected as they didn’t sit in the assembly and avoided each other in case they might speak and, accidentally, come up with a solution. But…. let’s not get into that – at least they are talking now …eh? And the wee assembly is running nicely with everybody from Big Ian to the cleaning ladies smiling widely. Now that we’re up and running we can check out the on-going costs and they make sobering reading…..


An article in the Belfast Telegraph sums up the position nicely (thanks Tele for the help here!). In “£12m: that’s what our MLAs are really costing” David Gordon and Chris Thornton outline the costs. Basically they are:-

  • payouts to MLAs are expected to top £12 million this year;
  • a UK-wide comparison also shows that basic Assembly wages cost almost twice as much per head of population as the Scottish parliament and nearly four times as much as Westminster pay;
  • paying the basic salaries of Assembly members costs £2.59 per person in Northern Ireland;
  • the Scottish Parliament’s wages cost £1.32 for every person in Scotland;
  • the Welsh Assembly’s pay is 94p per head in Wales;
  • Westminster pay costs 65p for every UK resident;
  • last year, when MLAs had no responsibilities for governing Northern Ireland, Assembly wages and salaries cost £8.7 million;
  • the bill is expected to break £12 million this year, because allowances have been increased and pay has returned to 2002 levels with the restoration of devolution;
  • allowance for running constituency offices has already increased by 45%.
  • assembly members are the lowest paid parliamentarians in the UK, earning £41,321 a year.
  • because there is a relatively large number of assembly members – 108 for a population of 1.7 million people – the total wages are higher than the salary bill for the Welsh Assembly, which governs over one million more people.

Don’t you just love figures? They give us all something to focus on as we watch the guys begin talking at the Assembly. Thanks to the guys at the Telegraph for digging these out.

But… let’s discuss them a little.

  • Do YOU think the guys and gals we have elected are worth this type of money?
  • Do you think they are doing a great job on our behalf or just a great job on their own behalf?
  • What would you like to see them tackle right away?

Of course, please feel free to raise your own questions here! I’m sure you have plenty.



3 Responses to The Cost of Politics?

  1. Anthony Russell says:

    I agree that we have too many MLAs for the size of our population but that reflects the ethnic reality and the original desire to engage the extremes – Look how well it has worked!

    I do not agree that a hardworking MLA is overpaid at that salary.

  2. Michael Doherty says:

    The Assembly costs seem very good value in comparison to decades of blowing up buildings, burning down buildings and the maiming and killing of thousands. Moreover as a Northerner who has lived in Dublin for 30+ years I look forward to the day when Northern Irish politics develop into the mass audience spectacle that occurs down here leading up to and following an election.
    Northerners will eventually get used to seeing Ian, Martin and Gerry smiling in each other’s company ( very unsettling though I may still find this ) but watching the efforts to form a government down here after a close election is much more fun. Especially as the result will be a reasonably competent government when the match making stops. The unlikely partners will make every effort to stay together as they know that the next election may leave them dependent on their pension plans!!!!

  3. Cynic32a/b/80 says:

    I gotta think you are well deluded here. These guys have sat around and pretended to be leaders for years. They could have come to a deal 15 years ago. Instead they hung around for the financial finale and so that Big Ian could become First Minister. If we’d only known in 1969 that being first minister was all he wanted then we’d have let him have it… just to save some lives. (BtW: Is this the first recorded instance of Ian saying, “Yes?:” 🙂
    Now these guys have to really be <strong>politicians</strong> and play the game of getting things done. But, if I were to offer you a bet that in 30 years there’s still be fighting in NI … what odds would you give me?

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