Year: 2016

I’m now walking to work…

Couldn’t have asked for a nicer morning for my new commute into work. 2 legs good, 4 wheels bad 🙂

The Independent Financial Review Panel has published their new Report and Determination

The main points are:

MLA’s salary shall increase by £1,000 to £49,000 and by £500 each April if inflation (CPI for previous September) is greater than 1%.

MLA Pension contributions will rise from a minimum of 7% to 9%, and be based upon 1/50th for each year of career average earnings. There will be some protection to retain 1/40th for those over 55 on April 1, 2015.

Rent and rates for constituency offices will be capped at £8,500 (maximum rent allowed) plus 40% for rates. There will be lower amounts for shared offices with other politicians and only one constituency office will be funded. All payments are conditional on full compliance with new signage requirements within three months.
MLA’s who rent offices from their political parties or connected individuals and groups will no longer be eligible to reclaim expenses for rent and rates.

Travel allowances are fixed for each constituency for each MLA, and will vary from £850 per year to £7,500, depending on distance from Stormont. To qualify for the full allowance, MLAs must attend Parliament Buildings on at least 72 days a year and record their attendance. A deduction of 1% of the allowance shall be made for each day’s attendance less than 72 days.

Employment of Support Staff. MLAs shall be able to claim an annual allowance of up to £50,000 for employing up to two full-time or equivalent part-time staff in their constituency office or at Stormont. ERNI and a new employer pension cost of 5% shall be paid in addition to the £50,000 cap.

A new salary structure will be introduced to ensure that no member of support staff is paid less than the Living Wage Foundation living wage of £8.25 per hour, rising each year to meet the £9.20 per hour minimum set by the Chancellor for 2020. Support staff may be eligible for annual performance uplifts of £250 a year to reach the top of their salary scale.

Recruitment. All future vacancies for MLA support staff shall be filled on the merit principle, requiring open competition.

Download the Report and the Determination.

New Clues

The Internet is us, connected.

  1. The Internet is not made of copper wire, glass fiber, radio waves, or even tubes.

  2. The devices we use to connect to the Internet are not the Internet.

  3. Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, and 中国电信 do not own the Internet. Facebook, Google, and Amazon are not the Net’s monarchs, nor yet are their minions or algorithms. Not the governments of the Earth nor their Trade Associations have the consent of the networked to bestride the Net as sovereigns.

  4. We hold the Internet in common and as unowned.

  5. From us and from what we have built on it does the Internet derive all its value.

  6. The Net is of us, by us, and for us.

  7. The Internet is ours.

Kaffe O

Drinking peppermint tea in the delightful Kaffe O located on the Ormeau Road in Belfast. 

I think I need a holiday!

Looking forward to a trip to the coast next week. Fingers crossed that the weather turns good.

Seen and Heard – part of #assemblyww—part-of-assemblyww

Seen and Heard’ saw Margaret E Ward, well-known entrepreneur, journalist and broadcaster, host a debate with prominent representatives from the world of broadcasting to discuss under-representation of women as commentators in the media and how it can be addressed.