1. ITV Report

NI political leaders respond to MLA pay increase

Leaders of NI's five main political parties have issued a joint statement. Credit: UTV

The leaders of Northern Ireland's five main political parties have responded to a pay increase for MLAs, set by the Independent Financial Review Panel following a 2016 report.

The party leaders have issued a joint statement asking for the pay rise to be deferred.

It comes after it was announced on Tuesday that MLAs at Stormont received a £1,000 pay rise.

The salary increase - from £49,500 to £50,500 - came into effect when Northern Ireland’s power-sharing institutions returned.

It had been put on hold while devolution was suspended.

In a joint statement from the DUP, Sinn Féin, SDLP, UUP and Alliance, they said: “The announcement yesterday of a proposed pay rise for MLAs came as a surprise to all parties. We share the broad public dismay at this development, only a matter of days after the Assembly and institutions have been fully restored.

"We have had a range of concerns over time around recommendations emerging from the Independent Financial Review Panel.

"We are jointly asking the Assembly Commission that any pay proposal is immediately deferred until the work of the Financial Review Panel has been comprehensively reviewed, and a new panel has the opportunity to consider this matter again and produce a fresh determination.

"We recognise that a number of MLAs and parties have indicated if the proposed pay increase cannot be halted, they will donate any additional sum to local causes and charities."