Northern Ireland

NI Assembly votes for 3% cut in whips' offices funding

Image caption The reduction in funding is part of overall plans to cut the assembly's budget by 5%

The Northern Ireland Assembly has voted for a 3% cut in a scheme that provides money to parties with MLAs.

The Financial Assistance for Political Parties scheme distributes funding to parties to help assembly members perform their duties.

It includes payments to help run whips' offices and employ party staff.

MLAs have approved the assembly commission's proposals to reduce the payments by 3%.

It forms part of an overall cut in the assembly's budget of 5% this financial year.

Under the new arrangements, parties will be able to claim about £25,600 if they have one MLA.

Parties with two or more MLAs will be able to claim about £51,100, plus about £3,300 for each MLA who is not a minister or junior minister.

Parties with between three and 10 MLAs will be able to claim about £16,000 for their whips' office.

The payment for parties with between 11 and 20 MLAs will be just under £24,000, while parties with more than 20 MLAs will be able to claim about £32,000.