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FAT CATS HIT IN POCKET; 50 per cent tax bracket bites big earners.

Byline: VICTORIA McMAHON

WAGES in Northern Ireland are generally lower than in the rest of Britain, but some people will still suffer from the Chancellor Al Darling's 50 per cent tax on earnings above pounds 150,000.

Translink boss Catherine Mason, who is attempting to raise fares by 41 per cent on some routes, is reportedly to earn on around pounds 210,000.

David Gavaghan of the Strategic Investment Board Northern Ireland will also suffer.

His hefty pounds 160,000 salary will also be lighter under the new tax - but he'll be able to top it up with his average pounds 60,000 plus bonus and pension as well as other perks.

Sir Jonathan Phillips, Permanent Secretary for the Northern Ireland Office, also reaches the tax bracket with his pounds 155,000 to pounds 159,999 wage packet. And who- steps into the shoes of PSNI boss Sir Hugh Orde will lose out to the tax man as the revenue takes a slice of that position's pounds 183,954 bumper wage.

These salaries compare very favourably with that of our local politicians, whose MLA salaries vary from pounds 48,315 for Eileen Bell, to an average of nearly pounds 31,000.

Average earnings in Northern Ireland are pounds 418 per week, pounds 200 less than in London, and have risen by 3.2 per cent in the last year.

Susie Squire, campaign manager for the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "Huge salaries are morally irreprehensible especially when ordinary people are trying to make ends meet.

"It's an irony that taxpayers are footing the bill for skyscraper salaries and the government is clawing the money back in tax.

"Public sector pay across the board has increased out of all proever portion with the private sector.

"The figures in your article put paid to the myth that people don't get rich in the public sector."

The campaigns manager said the massive salaries and increases in the middle of the credit crunch were a slap in the face for frontline public sector workers like nurses and police officers.

"The Government is supposed to cap the public sector at 2 per cent but these civil servants are getting far and in excess of this. There is a large divide in the microcosm of the public sector."

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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 26, 2009
Words:384
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