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Tag Archives: pay

Is your Bradford postcode in car crash scam UK top 30?

FIVE postcode areas of Bradford are among the UK’s top 30 ‘crash for cash’ hotspots in the county, according to a study.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) has ranked the top 30 postcode districts for fraudulent scams.

‘Crash for cash’ scams are where a fraudster, or group of fraudsters, stages an accident by deliberately causing a collision on the road, solely for the purpose of financial gain. The IFB’s rankings also include incidents where fraudsters have damaged their own vehicle, often with a sledge-hammer or blunt object, to make it appear as if it has been involved in an accident.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The UK's top 30 postcode areas for crash for cash' scams have been revealed. Picture: Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB)

The BD8 postcode, featuring Manningham, Girlington, White Abbey, Four Lane Ends, Whetley, Westbourne Green, West Park, Lower Grange, Rhodesway, Crossley Hall, Fairweather Green, Belle Vue, and BD9, including Frizinghall, Heaton, Daisy Hill, Haworth Road Estate, Chellow Heights and Chellow Grange, were ranked joint fourth.

Meanwhile BD3, including Barkerend, Bradford Moor, Thornbury, Eastbrook, Pollard Park, parts of Laisterdyke, Undercliffe, Wapping, finished in seventh place.

The BD7 postcode, which includes Great Horton, Lidget Green, Scholemoor, Horton Bank Top, Horton Grange, was 12th in the list, while BD5, which covers Bankfoot, Little Horton, West Bowling, Canterbury, Marshfields, Ripleyville, was ranked 21st.

These criminals often target innocent road users to profit from fraudulent insurance claims, putting motorist’s lives at risk.

Fraudulent motor claims submitted following the accident can also result in false personal injury and credit hire claims.

Such scams are estimated to cost the industry £336 million each year, with a single collision potentially worth tens of thousands of pounds.

Birmingham has the highest level of representation on the IFB’s map, with ten postcode districts featuring, including the top three postcodes.

Councillor Shabir Hussain (Lab, Manningham, which is in the BD8 postcode) said it was unfair that the crash for cash scams have seen innocent driver’s insurance premiums rise.

He said: “These are unbelievable figures.

“No wonder people have huge insurance premiums in our area.

“It’s very shocking and innocent people are having to pay more.”

Cllr Mohammed Amran (Lab, Heaton, within the BD9 postcode) said it has been a problem highlighted to him by residents at a number of ward councillor surgeries.

He said: “We are working closely with then police to stop these scams in our area.

“The high insurance premium figures because of these scams are killing people.

“It’s really unfair for good drivers to be affected by it.

“It has been raised to us a number of times by members of the public.

“These scams are causing us all havoc.”

Jason Potter, head of investigations at IFB, said “Bradford has five postcodes that feature in our top 30 postcode district hotspots data, three of which are in the top ten, indicating that there have been a higher number of crash for cash incidents in these areas.

“However, crash for cash is a nationwide problem that cannot be ignored.

“Last year, this type of fraud cost £336m, which is not an insignificant amount, and shows there is still a lot of work to be done.”

The IFB says it is working closely with police and insurers to clamp down on these criminals and ultimately taking them off the roads and putting them behind bars.

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Labour pledges law to cut credit card debt

Credit cardsImage copyright PA

Legislation limiting the amount of interest that can be charged on credit card debts is being promised by the Labour Party.

Under the changes, nobody would pay more in interest than they had originally borrowed.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell says more than three million people are “trapped” by credit card debt.

He will unveil the planned change in the law in a speech at Labour’s conference in Brighton.

Labour said the changes would work in a similar way to measures on payday loans, which came into force in 2015.

The Financial Conduct Authority has called for new measures to help people in “persistent debt” as a result of credit cards.

The regulator says over three million people are in persistent debt, which it defines as having have paid more in interest and charges than they have repaid of their borrowing over an 18-month period.

Labour said its “total cost cap” would help “tackle the persistent debt spiral”, claiming growing consumer debt was becoming a “threat to our economy”.

Unscrupulous lenders

Addressing delegates in Brighton, Mr McDonnell will say: “The Financial Conduct Authority has argued for action to be taken on credit card debt as on payday loans.

“I am calling upon the government to act now apply the same rules on payday loans to credit card debt.

“It means that no-one will ever pay more in interest than their original loan.

“If the Tories refuse to act, I can announce today that the next Labour government will amend the law.”

UK Finance, which represents the financial and banking industry, said it was committed to responsible lending and that consumer credit was important for economic growth.

It added that “the last thing the industry wants is to see those who are most vulnerable being pushed towards the hands of unscrupulous and unregulated lenders”.

When the FCA called for action in April, the UK Cards Association, which represents the major credit card providers, said the industry was “committed to helping the minority of cardholders who do not use a credit card in a way which is in their best interest”.

The Conservatives said action was already being taken to outlaw “rip-off credit card charges” and ensure companies help customers clear debt.

Brexit row

On day one of Labour’s conference, the party’s position on Brexit came under scrutiny as leader Jeremy Corbyn faced calls to keep the UK in the EU single market – and some MPs expressed anger as no motions on Brexit were selected for debate on the floor.

Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer will speak in the auditorium on Monday, when he is expected to say the Tory approach to negotiations on leaving the European Union reveals the “post-imperial delusions” of Theresa May’s party.

Instead, he will promise a promise a “democratically legitimate and economically sensible” approach.

Birmingham tops ‘crash for cash’ postcodes hotspots

A car crashImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption “Crash for cash” occurs when a road accident is caused by a fraudster

Birmingham has topped the UK’s “crash for cash” postcode league – the second time in a year the city has featured in a table of hotspots for the crime.

“Crash for cash” scams are run by fraudsters who manufacture collisions with other road users, hoping to profit from insurance claims.

In the table, compiled by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), Birmingham had 10 of the top 30 postcodes for the crime.

Manchester, Bradford, London and Oldham also featured on the list.

‘Nationwide problem’

In total, Birmingham has 10 postcodes on the list. Washwood Heath, Aston and Small Heath were the three worst postcodes for the crime in the UK.

In Bradford, Frizinghall and Manningham came joint fourth for the numbers of fraudulent claims, while in Manchester the M8 postcode, which includes Cheetham Hill, was ranked sixth.

A survey carried out by insurance company Aviva in 2016 said 25% of its 3,000 crash for cash claims last year were in Birmingham.

“We don’t know the exact reason Birmingham features so heavily in these surveys,” said Ben Fletcher, the director of the IFB, a not-for-profit organisation set up to detect fraud.

“Obviously, this is a nationwide problem and we have investigations that range from Kent to the North East, but large urban areas tend to be the focal points for these kind of crimes.”

The data applies to the past 12 months. In total, there were 55,573 personal injury claims linked to scams in the UK, the IFB said, costing the insurance industry a total of £340m a year.


Image caption The number of induced accidents is stabilising, the IFB says

Tell-tale signs that you’ve been in a “crash for cash” scam:

  • The other driver seems suspiciously calm
  • They have already written down their insurance details before the accident happened
  • Any injuries appear to be completely at odds with the force of the impact
  • If you think you have been targeted, note as much information as you can, take photographs and call the police to report your suspicions

‘Catastrophic’

RAF engineer Richard Turner, from Cosford in Shropshire, was caught up in a cash for crash scam.

In October 2014 he was driving over a traffic island on the A41, following a black BMW and an older car.

The BMW suddenly changed lanes, then the other car slammed on the brakes, forcing Mr Turner to crash lightly into the back of it.

His suspicions were raised when the male occupants of the vehicle exited clutching their necks.

Image copyright Kate Turner
Image caption Richard Turner was penalised by his insurance company after being the victim of the scam

As he exchanged details, Mr Turner tried to ring the other driver’s number – only to discover it did not work.

He also noticed the driver seemed uncomfortable with him taking photographs of the damage and calling the police to report the crash.

Mr Turner drove home but returned to the island a short time later when he noticed the same cars repeating the same trick three times.

He filmed them, rang the police and posted the incident on social media.

One man who contacted him on Facebook said the scammers had forced a crash with his wife, who was heavily pregnant at the time.

“This is not a victimless crime,” said Mr Turner. “Although I told the men I knew it was a scam when they tried to settle the claim, I still had to pay around £400 a year extra to my insurance company in case they did try to force a claim.

“And in the case of the pregnant driver, a crash could have been catastrophic.”


The top 10 crash for cash locations in 2017:

Birmingham

Bradford

Manchester

London

Oldham

Liverpool

Bolton

Sheffield

Liverpool

Wakefield

Source: The not-for-profit organisation Insurance Fraud Bureau


Public toilets may soon be run by town council

PUBLIC toilets in Baildon may be transferred to the control of the town’s council.

Baildon Town Council’s (BTC) economy committee has recommended the transfer of the toilets on Northgate in a report to go before a meeting of the full town council.

The final decision on Baildon’s ownership proposal will be made at BTC’s meeting on Monday, October 9.

In April 2018, Bradford Council will withdraw all budget provision for the Baildon public toilets and has started discussions with BTC about a possible community asset transfer.

Seven conveniences would close under Bradford Council’s latest cost-cutting proposals, now out for public consultation, under cuts announced in December last year.

They are in Saltaire, Bingley, Baildon, both Brook Street and Riverside in Ilkley, and Central Park and by the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth.

The cost of running all seven sites amounts to £144,600 a year. Only the toilets in Bradford’s City Park would remain open.

If a decision is made to seek a transfer of the toilets from Bradford Council to BTC, the additional expenditure will need to be included in the budget process for the 2018/19 financial year for BTC later this year.

The Baildon site features men’s, women’s and disabled toilets and is open seven days a week.

An additional, £2,000 may also be funded by the Town Council to pay for improvements including signage and possible baby changing facilities.

BTC has already received some representations about the importance of keeping the toilets open.

Research has been undertaken over the summer to assess possible alternative facilities. The annual cost of running Baildon public toilets would be an estimated £7,000.

BTC’s economy committee considered a report in July about this potential transfer but decided at that time to seek further information before making a recommendation to the full Town Council on the way forward. A public consultation was also launched at the same time.

The town council conducted a footfall survey on the toilets between July 31 and September 17 this year and found that it remained a well-used facility.

Gill Dixon, chairman of BTC’s economy committee, said: “It’s important that we keep the toilets open.

“People who use Baildon for walking see the toilets as important in the town. We have done a lot of research and on the footfall figures and the conclusion is that they are well-used and there is no real alternative in Baildon.”

The toilets would continue to be opened and closed by Baildon Taxis, also on Northgate, under the plans.

People can still have their say on the toilet plans for the town before the meeting on October 9. Email clerk@baildontowncouncil.gov.uk.

Gender pay gap widens for managers

Woman managerImage copyright Getty Images

Female managers in the UK earn close to £12,000 less on average than their male counterparts, new research has found.

The gender pay gap for the UK‘s 3.3 million managers now stands at 26.8%, according to analysis by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and XpertHR.

The figure is considerably higher than the average of 18.1% for all workers, or 9.4% for full-time staff.

The CMI report was based on a study of more than 118,000 employees in 423 organisations.

It is based on new reporting requirements and includes salaries and bonuses, as well as benefits such as car allowances and commissions.

The gap last year, under the old rules, stood at at 23.1%.

The gender pay gap is even higher in the Midlands, where male managers earn an average of £42,745 – almost a third more than the £30,038 figure for their female equivalents.

It is also above the national average North and North East of England, where male managers earn an average of 28.8% more than women, while it is lowest in Scotland at 21.5%.

CMI chief executive Ann Francke said: “Too many businesses are like ‘glass pyramids’ with women holding the majority of lower-paid junior roles and far fewer reaching the top.

“We now see those extra perks of senior management roles are creating a gender pay gap wider than previously understood.”

She said the figures underlined the need for the government’s new gender pay gap reporting regulations. They require UK companies with more than 250 employees to publish their gender pay gaps within the next year, starting with a snapshot at at 5 April.

Just 77 of the 7,850 employers covered by the new rules have yet done so, the CMI said.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Lib Dem deputy leader Jo Swinson says companies should be fined for failing to report their gender pay gaps

Its research also found that women are far more likely to occupy junior management roles than men (66% compared with 34%), while men hold almost three quarters of senior positions.

At director level positions, the gap widens even further to just over £34,000, with men earning an average of £175,673 and women just £141,529.

Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat deputy leader and former equalities minister, called on the government to impose “meaningful sanctions” for non-compliance.

“The government must commit to bring in penalty fines and naming and shaming for firms who flout the rules. Transparency is an important step, but the focus needs to be on action to close the gender pay gap,” she said.

Newspaper headlines: Cabinet ‘all-out war’ over Brexit

Image caption The Observer publishes an open letter from more than 30 MPs as well as MEPs, Labour peers, trade union leaders and mayors calling for Jeremy Corbyn to commit to full and permanent membership of the EU single market and customs union – so the party can offer a clear alternative to the Conservatives over Brexit.
Image caption The Mail on Sunday describes “all-out war” between Chancellor Philip Hammond and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. “In an unprecedented clash between the great offices of state, the foreign secretary’s supporters claimed that Theresa May’s Florence speech had thwarted the chancellor’s bid to lock Britain into a fiveyear transition period after Brexit,” reports the Mail.
Image caption According to the Sunday Times, the fragility of Theresa May’s grip on power was laid bare as it was revealed that four of her senior ministers had made plans to replace her after the general election. The paper says she faces a fresh blow with the news that Boris Johnson, Philip Hammond, David Davis and Amber Rudd were embroiled in leadership plots after she surrendered the Tory majority.
Image caption The Sunday Telegraph says it has learned that Mr Johnson demanded a series of Brexit assurances as the fragile cabinet truce over Mrs May’s transition plan began to fracture. The paper says he wants the UK to reject any new EU rules and regulations after it formally leaves in March 2019.
Image caption The Sunday Express says Mr Johnson took credit for Mrs May’s Brexit speech, saying that the UK would have ended up in the EU until 2024 if he had not taken on the Remainers in the cabinet.
Image caption The Daily Star Sunday marks the return of Strictly Come Dancing to our screens “amid a storm of controversy”. The paper says someone has vowed to continue leaking results from the show.
Image caption “Incredible moment boys stop suicide bid”: The Sunday Mirror reports on two boys who clung on to a suicidal young man and saved his life as he threatened to jump off a bridge.
Image caption The Sunday People reports that music mogul Simon Cowell has promised £1.8m to pay for pop star Mel B’s divorce.

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Brexit: UK needs to clarify issues – Macron

French President Emmanuel MacronImage copyright Reuters

The UK must provide more clarity about its negotiating position on Brexit, the French president has said.

Emmanuel Macron said the issues of EU citizens‘ rights, the exit bill and the Irish border question must be settled before talks could be held on trade.

On Friday, Theresa May made suggestions including a two-year transition period after Brexit, and that the UK pay the EU for “commitments” previously made.

She hoped this offer, made in a speech in Italy, would unblock Brexit talks.

In the first response by a European leader to the speech, Mr Macron welcomed her initiative, but said the British position still needed to be fleshed out.

“Before we move forward, we wish to clarify the issue of the regulation of European citizens, the financial terms of the exit and the question of Ireland,” he said.

“If those three points are not clarified, then we cannot move forward on the rest.”

Mrs May said there should be a transition period of “about” two years after March 2019 – when the UK leaves the EU – during which trade should continue on current terms

EU migrants would still be able to live and work in the UK but they would have to register with the authorities, under her proposals.

And she said the UK would pay into the EU budget for decisions made while it was a member, so other member states were not left out of pocket.

‘We have not left’

She did not specify how much the UK would be prepared to pay during the transition period, but it has been estimated as being at least 20bn euros (about £18bn).

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Demonstrators were out in Florence for the speech

In Germany, the ruling CDU’s European spokesman Michael Stuebgen said Mrs May’s speech would not provide the “new dynamism” needed as details had not been fleshed out.

And the head of the country’s small and medium business association said her speech was a “wasted opportunity”.

At home, Mrs May’s speech was welcomed by senior Conservative figures including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Chancellor Philip Hammond.

But former Brexit minister Lord Bridges, who resigned from the department in June, said Britain needed to be ready for the scenario where the country crashed out of the EU without a deal.

“What will happen at customs, data, aviation, energy, law? The list goes on and on. I would urge the government to not be too coy about this,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

If the EU senses the UK is not ready to leave without a deal, it would be “captured” at the negotiating table, he said.

Backbench MP Jacob Rees-Mogg criticised the PM‘s stance on freedom of movement until March 2019, offering the union money, and the role of the European Courts of Justice on Britain.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionMay on Brexit: “A two year transition period”

In her speech, the prime minister suggested there should be a new security agreement and a new model for trade

She said the UK and EU would continue to work together on long-term economic projects and the UK would want to contribute to costs.

When the two-year transition period was up, the UK and EU could move towards a new “deep and special partnership,” she said.

By March 2019, neither the UK or EU would be ready to “smoothly” implement new arrangements, Mrs May said, so she suggested current trade terms should remain in place.

That would last until new systems were set up.


Analysis

By BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg

It’s been pretty well established in Whitehall for many months – the most eager Brexiteers who wanted short, sharp exit lost that battle some time ago.

Her acknowledgment of that pulls against her repeated insistence in the election that the public just want politicians to “get on with it”.

And there were new nuggets of information that will influence the talks.

Read Laura’s full blog


Mrs May said she hoped to build a “comprehensive and ambitious” new economic partnership with the EU in the long-term.

She reassured EU citizens in the UK that “we want you to stay, we value you” and said she wanted UK courts to take account of rulings by the European Court of Justice.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Cabinet ministers were in the front row in Florence to hear the speech

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier described the speech as “constructive” and said the prime minister had shown “a willingness to move forward”.

But he said statements must now be translated into a precise negotiating position of the UK government.

And he said he would look at the implications of the UK’s pledge that no member state would have to pay more as a result of Brexit.

European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said the UK’s position was becoming “more realistic” but ruled out the UK registering EU citizens who wanted to stay.

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn acknowledged a transition was needed to provide stability for businesses and workers.

Mr Barnier meets Brexit Secretary David Davis for a fourth round of talks on Monday.

Two million couples missing out on tax break, says HMRC

Newly married couple

Nearly half the couples eligible to claim marriage tax allowance are still failing to do so, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The tax allowance – worth £230 a year – can be claimed by married couples or those in a civil partnership if they meet certain conditions.

However, since it was introduced in 2015, only 2.2 million couples have claimed it, from 4.4 million eligible.

The government said it had now simplified the application process.

Last year, HMRC reported that only a quarter of eligible couples were claiming.

The latest figures were obtained as the result of a Freedom of Information request to HMRC by insurance company Royal London.

Steve Webb, the director of policy at Royal London, said the take-up was “shockingly low”.

“When family finances are so tight, I would encourage every married couple to check whether they might be eligible, including for the last two years, as they could qualify for a useful lump sum as well as a reduction in their ongoing tax bill,” he said.


How Marriage Allowance works

  • Partners must either be married, or in a civil partnership.
  • One partner must be working, and paying tax at the basic rate of 20%. If he or she is earning over £45,000 (£43,000 in Scotland) they are not eligible.
  • The other partner must be earning less than £11,500 in 2017-18, meaning they pay no tax.
  • If the above conditions are satisfied, the partner not paying tax can transfer 10% of his or her tax allowance to a partner, so saving £230 in this tax year.
  • Back-claims can be made for previous years

HMRC has organised several advertising campaigns to persuade people to apply for Marriage Allowance, and is known to be frustrated by the lack of take-up.

“Applications have increased year on year, and the application process is easy, and families can apply at a time which is convenient for them,” a spokesperson said.

Steve Webb said the complexity of claiming might be one reason why so many people have not applied.

“I suspect people don’t know who’s eligible, or how to go about claiming it,” he said.

A government spokesperson said: “2.2 million couples across the UK are keeping more of the money they earn thanks to the Marriage Allowance.

“Applications have increased year on year and we have simplified the application process to make it easier for families to apply at a time which is convenient for them.”

Outrage or relief?

Uber phone app with a phone box and black cab in the backgroundImage copyright Reuters
Image caption Uber said TfL ‘caved in to a small number who want to restrict consumer choice’

Transport for London (TfL) has said it will not renew the lift-hailing app firm Uber’s licence.

The decision has provoked a very mixed reaction on social media. Unsurprisingly, the hashtag #Uber started to trend almost immediately after the announcement.

Outrage

Some have been lamenting the higher cost of different taxi services, including Paul Cushion, who is not happy at all:

“I’m raging! Uber is a great service and I use it to get to work because I do anti-social hours and it’s far safer than the bus! Last year it cost me £18 to get home on Christmas Day. This year it will be treble that.”

Lynn in London got in touch via WhatsApp: “40,000 drivers in London can’t be that bad. This is to please black cab rip-off merchants.”

Kieran McCormack agrees: “Uber has provided me with clean, polite, efficient, cheap and accessible transport. The decision to revoke their licence is a regressive step.”

Peter Granger says simply: “A ridiculous decision. It would be better to ban black cabs.”

Graham Stoner, whose grandfather used to be a black-cab driver, told the BBC the decision is: “Scandalous! I thought monopolies were a thing of the past. London taxis need to wake up and smell the coffee. How come a ride home in an uncomfortable slow black cab costs me three to four times as much as going home in a modern saloon car?”

Safety first

Women have been expressing their dismay, including @sunnysingh_n6 who describes Uber as her life support: “I KNOW the driver will accept my fare (unlike black cabs)”

There are concerns about travelling late at night, especially from twitter user Charlie: “Without Uber, I’m going to be at a bus stop late at night, on a night bus, walking home from the bus stop that is NOT right outside my house.” She posted.

Annie Josephine thinks the decision will affect some people more than others:

Sabrina Mahfouz tweets that she’s never felt safer: “Safest I’ve ever felt in my city with uber app on tap.”

Freedom of choice

Mike Packham in Beckenham asks: “Whatever happened to choice and competition? Certainly some working practices and safety issues need improving, but to deprive 3.5 million customers and cutting jobs is madness.”

Carol Merrifield is also outraged: “Uber is the best thing to happen in London for years. Black cabs should not be allowed to dictate.”

John in London adds: “TfL has made a fool of itself and fails to take account of the needs of passengers in the round when it acts like this. If there are problems, surely they need sorting? This stupid decision puts tens of thousands out of work and will cost taxi users dearly.”

Uber drivers

Uber driver Muhammad Naveed says he has to pay off £12,000 of lease on his car and insurance which he bought two weeks ago: “How am I going to manage? My life will be finished. No job with thousands of debt is the worst thing that can ever happen in a person’s life.”

Martin Shaw says he is proud to drive for Uber: “Many taxi companies across the UK have had the market in their towns and ripped off users. Uber has honest pricing.”

Pay for standards

However, there has been praise for the decision. Christine Soper called it excellent and heartening:

“There is no shortage of local and London-wide cab companies and, of course, the wonderful and iconic British black cab. They are strictly regulated and have to abide by the rules and pay for that also. Why should Uber be the exception? It’s an environmental disgrace that they are swamping London’s roads with numbers adding each week with no controls. If you want decent standards, safety and security then we all have to pay for them.”

David Lamont has had a poor experience with Uber, although he says the app is great:

“The drivers are awful. Until they are vetted and employ drivers with more respect for London, they should be banned.”

Meanwhile, a bit of perspective has been called for by Scott Anthony who pointed out that Londoners were more outraged at Uber losing their licence than the terror attacks this year:

And a hint of sarcasm:

By Sherie Ryder, UGC and Social News team

Calls to cut MLA pay cannot be used as stick, says Foster

Arlene FosterImage copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Pay cut threats should not be used as a “stick” to restore power-sharing, says Arlene Foster

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster has said cutting MLA salaries cannot be used “as a stick” to encourage progress at Stormont.

It follows comments by Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire that he would consider the issue if the deadlock cannot be broken.

The main parties have been unable to make progress since the Stormont executive collapsed in January.

Mrs Foster said pay was “not a stick” and could not be used as an incentive.

Anyone who thought that threatening a pay reduction would make a deal more likely did not understand the political process, she added.

‘Don’t understand me’

In a wide-ranging interview with BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday News programme, Mrs Foster acknowledged the issue would have to be re-assessed if an agreement could not be reached.

But she rejected calls for MLAs’ salaries to be reduced.

“Pay will not determine the outcome of a political process,” she said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption James Brokenshire has warned that time was running out to restore devolution

“It is quite offensive, I have to say, to those of us who have stood for election, who want to get on with the job of government, that people think if they make a threat of pay reduction that it will act as some sort of incentive.

“I think people out there, whether it’s the BBC or anyone else, that think the threat of reducing my pay is in some way going to make an agreement more possible – they don’t really understand me and they don’t really understand the people that stand for election.”

On Thursday, Mr Brokenshire said Northern Ireland was on a “glide path” towards greater UK government intervention if a deal could not be struck by the parties in the next few weeks.

In response, Mrs Foster said the DUP did not want to be heading towards direct rule, but warned that “there needs to be an end point” to the talks process.

She said there had been a useful, intensive stage of talks since the end of August, but that there are still “significant issues” between the DUP and Sinn Féin.

“It is about trying to keep the focus – people elected us to do a job, they want to see us in government and that’s certainly where my focus is.”

This interview will be broadcast in full on The Sunday News programme on BBC Radio Ulster at 13:00 BST.