Alliance calls for Assembly travel expenses to be scrutinized

Alliance Party Deputy Leader, Naomi Long has stated that both the people of Northern Ireland and appropriate authorities should look into the travel expenses of Assembly Members. Her comments come on the day that the 2004/2005 travel expenses were published by the Assembly.

East Belfast Alliance MLA, Naomi Long said: “We do not wish to criticize people for legitimate Assembly business expenditure. However, these travel expenses require further scrutiny, both by constituents of all elected representatives and also at a higher level.

“It is clear that some MLAs expenses do not correlate with other MLAs who share the same constituency. Also, some members travel expenses do not correspond to their public profile or level of activity as regards Assembly business.

“These figures must be scrutinized carefully to ensure that all public money is carefully spent and that all payments are accountable.

“It is very hard to justify high levels of travel expenditure for Assembly Members whose constituencies lie close to Greater Belfast, where the Assembly is located and where many of the headquarters of statutory agencies are based.

“We do, however, recognize that MLAs from rural constituencies would be expected to incur higher expenses.”

Naomi Long concluded: “Alliance has, and will continue to deliver value for money and provide the highest standard of representation to all our constituents.”


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