Double jobbing councillors’ allowances cut

0
Have your say

Environment Minister Alex Attwood is cutting double jobbing councillors’ allowances in Northern Ireland.

From early April, a regulation shall be in place for councillor allowances to be reduced by two thirds for those councillors who are MLAs, MPs, MEPs or Lords.

North Antrim DUP MLAs Mervyn Storey and Paul Frew, who are also councillors, will be affected by the changes.

The Minister also highlighted that double jobbing, ie being a councillor and an MLA, will be banned from April 2014.

The Minister made the announcements at the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA) Conference last week.

Mr Attwood said: “I was a councillor for 20 years. I appreciate the work of councillors – particularly during the years of threat, and their dedicated work for little financial recognition. But it is neither right nor sustainable for MLAs who continue as councillors to receive the full councillor allowance or to remain both councillors and MLAs. I am now acting on this.

“A year ago, despite good support, a Bill to ban MLA/Councillor double jobbing in advance of the May 2011 Council Elections was voted down. It was a missed opportunity. It must be grasped now.

“My first step is to cut councillor allowances for those who are MLAs. I consulted on this plan last Autumn. No one disagreed. So, from early April 2012, a regulation shall be in place for councillor allowance to be reduced by two thirds for those councillors who are MLAs, MPs, MEPs or Lords. I look to councils to help put this new regime in place. The reduction will also be two thirds for special responsibility positions, such as for chairs and vice-chairs.

“My second step will be clauses in a local government bill in the Autumn that will ban double jobbing - being a local councillor and an MLA. It will become effective in May 2014. I have the support of all Executive colleagues. I hope that Assembly members will agree and not resist.

“I trust that given this new regime all parties will move decisively to end double jobbing.”