Peter Robinson has raised the prospect that many low-paid civil servants may receive £100m in back-pay. He said he was prepared to deal with historic inequality in pay, affecting as many as 9,000 workers – who are mainly women and mostly Catholic.
Some have speculated that Mr Robinson was forced to rectify this situation, left unresolved by a succession of Labour Ministers, because of the threat of legal or trade union action. Mr Robinson said the £100m could come either from the Treasury or from the underspend in last year’s annual budget for Northern Ireland. It seems unlikely that the Treasury will cough up.