Sweetie spike as MLA consumption rises

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The cost of sweeties for Stormont politicans has rocketed over the past six years from £288.20 in 2009/10 to £358.60 in 2014/15.

Politicians and other visitors to the Assembly consumed 3,182 rolls of mints at a cost of £1,754.14 to the public purse over the six years.

Consumption had fell back somewhat from 524 rolls in 2009/10 to 445 rolls (£244.75) in 2010/11; 493 rolls (£271) in 2011/12; and 418 rolls (£224.95) in 2012/13.

But after 650 rolls costing £357.50 were eaten in 2013/14 it’s now back up to a six year high with politicians eating 652 rolls or £358.60 worth of mints last year.

The average cost of a roll of mints over the period was 55p.

The Assembly Commission revealed the expenditure in response to a Question table by Traditional Unionist Voice (MLA) Jim Allister.

Last year Mr Allister stated: “Uniquely among legislatures, the Stormont Assembly provides free mints at the Speaker’s table to sustain our MLAs.

“Though MLAs are on £48,000 per annum and ministers on over £80,000 per annum, it is clearly too much to expect them to buy their own mints, so the taxpayer provides them instead.”

Last October, when Mr Allister was temporarily barred from speaking by the Speaker of the Assembly, East Londonderry DUP MLA Gregory Campbell asked: “Just for clarity, I want to establish whether it is the intention of the ruling to prevent Mr Allister putting down incisive, forensic and analytical written questions like the ones he did about the cost and condition of mint imperials in the Chamber.”