As she announced in the House of Commons on 6 September, the Secretary of State has accepted the recommendations made by Sir Trevor Reaney in December 2017 and will cut MLAs’ pay by 27.5% over the next few months, unless a Northern Ireland Executive is formed in the meantime.
The Secretary of State said:
My absolute priority, and the priority of the UK Government, is to restore devolved government at the earliest opportunity. I recognise that MLAs still carry out important work, but it can’t be right that they continue to receive their full salary until the Executive and the Assembly are restored.
I am acting today in line with the powers voted for by Parliament to cut their pay until the Executive is restored. This will be followed by legislation to give clarity to the Northern Ireland Civil Service for the decisions they can make, and my focus on establishing talks between the parties.
I am confident that the plan I set out in Parliament provides the right framework to work with the parties to restore an Executive so that important decisions for the people of Northern Ireland can be made by locally elected politicians.
The pay of staff working for MLAs will not be affected.
The letter from the Secretary of State to MLAs informs them that their salary will be cut by 15% from 1 November, and by a further 12.5% from 1 January 2019 if an Executive has not been restored. Travel allowances have also been reduced, and inflationary pay rises cancelled while there is no Executive to determine otherwise.
Should an Executive be restored, under legislation passed in Westminster in July full salaries will be restored and the power to vary MLA salaries will return from the Secretary of State to a panel appointed by the Assembly.