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House passes MP’s 5% pay cut bill

Premier Paula Cox said MPs are leading by example as they approved their own five percent pay cut in the House of Assembly last night.

Ms Cox also hinted most of the unions are close to accepting salary reductions as the Island comes to terms with the economic crisis.

“This is one of those times when the legislature collectively is showing that they are prepared to lead by example and that they are also prepared to share and join hands with the community,” said the Premier after the cut won approval from all sides of the House.

Unions have so far not accepted pay decreases proposed by Government, with leaders insisting politicians first make sacrifices themselves.

Last night, Ms Cox said she’d received an e-mail revealing “there’s positive movement by most of the unions”.

She said: “It helps that we have been prepared to deduct our money and put our money where our mouths are.”

The One Bermuda Alliance, which had claimed Cabinet members should face a bigger pay reduction, had made its own cut at the start of this month, donating five percent of its salaries to charity.

OBA leader Craig Cannonier told the House last night: “From the get-go, we felt it should be the Ministers taking a ten percent pay cut.

“But we are in agreement of this five percent as it stands.”

Kim Swan, who was elected as a United Bermuda Party MP, said: “We are appreciative that Government members and the Premier have found it necessary to take a pay decrease.

“The general public have been calling for it. It’s a good reflection of the pain and suffering the Country is feeling at this particular time.”

Before the resolution was approved, backbencher Elvin James’ name was added to the list of retiring MPs who will not be affected by the pay cut.

Mr James will be retiring at the next general election, according to the list on the resolution, along with Speaker Stanley Lowe, former Premier Alex Scott, National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief, backbenchers Neletha Butterfield, Ashfield DeVent and Walter Lister and OBA MP Louise Jackson.

The resolution states MPs’ salaries will drop from $56,023 to $53,222 for one year from April 1; and Senators from $30,367 to $28,848.

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Published March 17, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated March 17, 2012 at 7:54 am)

House passes MP’s 5% pay cut bill

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