Stephen Farry stated: “While the decision of the Finance Minister on this year’s bonuses can be welcomed, it does not address the more structural problem relating to the pay of senior civil servants in Northern Ireland.
“In contrast to other civil servants, the pay of senior civil servants follows a UK-wide pattern. However, the labour market in Northern Ireland is fundamentally different from that elsewhere and in particular in the south-east of England. In the latter, top pay in the public sector is dwarfed by the private sector, making the need to attract quality people into the civil service clear. Yet, in Northern Ireland, the opposite is the case, where top public sector salaries tend to be in excess of the private sector, and without running the same risks and uncertainty that people working in the private sector would have.
“These issues were raised by Sir David Varney in this second report into the competitiveness of the Northern Ireland economy. It is important that the Finance Minister and the whole Executive look at the bigger picture.”