Local MLAs’ expenses bill hits £704,000 - paid for by us

Ian McCrea

Ian McCrea

MLAs in Mid-Ulster and Fermanagh and South Tyrone have racked up expenses of more than £704,000 in the past year, paid for by the taxpayer.

A total of six local MLAs claimed expenses of more than £70,000 according to the latest accounts publication from the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The DUP’s Ian McCrea had the highest claim among MLAs in the Mid-Ulster and Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituencies, with a claim of £85,044. His bill was the second highest overall of the Assembly’s 108 members.

This was almost £6,000 higher than the next highest MLA locally, the SDLP’s Patsy McGlone, who submitted a claim for £79,091.

Former UUP leader Tom Elliott was next in the local list with a claim of £78,071, followed by the DUP’s Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster who claimed £77,446.

The expenses cover the period from April 2011 until March 2012.

The figures take into account office costs, travel subsistence and other expenses.

Up to £75,857 can be claimed by MLAs during 2011-12 for the running of their offices.

Other local assembly members who submitted expenses of more than £70,000 were Sinn Fein MLA Francie Molloy with £72,766 and the DUP’s Maurice Morrow with £75,767

The lowest claims were submitted by Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill at £37,193.

Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness claimed £39,337, Michelle Gildernew £49,960, UUP MLA Sandra Overend £53,509 and the SDLP’s Tommy Gallager £59,062

Other allowances include childcare, temporary secretarial allowance, support staff mileage and disability allowance — the most prevalent of which is a temporary secretarial allowance, according to the Assembly.

Members also have motor mileage allowance for business travel by car which as of July 2011 was increased to 45p per mile for the first 10,000 and 25p thereafter.

But earlier this year an Independent Financial Review Panel decided on a cut in office allowances — bringing the figure down from £75,857 a year to £69,238 — with a potential saving of £1.8m.

Elliott. Tom £69,031.55 £1,919.19 £7,121.20 £78,071.94

Foster, Arlene £73,308.88 £3,306.00 £831.10 £77,445.98

Gallagher, Thomas £5,438.75 £52,737.91 £885.60 £59,062.26

Gildernew, Michelle £41,517.52 £3,690.06 £4,752.45 £49,960.03

McGlone, Patsy £72,816.20 £726.31 £5,548.40 £79,090.91

McGuinness, Martin £39,337.81 £0.00 £0.00 £39,337.81

Molloy, Francie £64,058.82 £3,278.55 £5,428.45 £72,765.82

McCrea, Ian £75,817.43 £3,180.43 £6,046.55 £85,044.41

Morrow, Maurice £72,422.43 £374.40 £2,970.25 £75,767.08

O’Neill, Michelle £35,353.07 £0.00 £1,840.00 £37,193.07

Overend, Sandra £45,627.40 £2,623.82 £5,258.55 £53,509.77


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