MLA’s in Northern Ireland face pay cuts as new legislation is set to come into effect to encourage the formation of a government.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris made the decision to introduce this legislation to allow for more time and space for Executive formation, in the effort to avoid an election.

The legislation will extend the period for Executive formation by six weeks to December 8, with the possibility of a further six week extension to January 19.

This legislation will also enable the Secretary of State to amend the pay and expenses payable to MLAs while the assembly is not sitting.

MLA’s receive a salary of £51,500, which is set to be cut by 27.5% to £37,000.

Speaking ahead of the bill’s introduction, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris said:

“I urge the Northern Ireland Parties to use this extended time to come together and deliver for the interests of all people in Northern Ireland, particularly in this time of rising costs.

“At present, MLAs are not in a position to fulfil the full range of their duties, so it is right that we take steps to reduce their salaries, especially in the current economic climate and in view of the £660 million black hole in the public finances created by poor decisions made by outgoing Ministers.

“Furthermore, Northern Ireland’s people are being denied full democratic representation.

“The government’s priority is to see politicians elected to return to fulfil their roles in a strong, devolved and locally accountable government, as laid out by the Good Friday Agreement.”