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Assembly election expected to cost £5 million - the price of hiring more than 200 teachers or nurses

The cost of an Assembly election is expected to be £5 million. Picture by Paul Faith/PA Wire
John Monaghan

THE Assembly election is expected to cost the taxpayer nearly £5 million - the price of employing more than 200 new teachers or nurses.

The most recent Assembly election of May 2016 cost around £3.2m, with a further £1.8m spent on candidate literature.

While £5m may be a drop in the ocean compared to the overspend on the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme, it is money that could fund new teachers, nurses, GP trainees or even the first two years of an air ambulance service.

An air ambulance service for Northern Ireland, which is still in the process of being developed, is expected to cost £2m a year.

In under-pressure schools across the north, the cost of the election could cover the immediate hiring of around 227 new staff to start work, based on an average starting salary of almost £22,000 for new teachers.

Alternatively, with qualified nurses also starting on a similar salary, the same number of nurses could also be employed with the money to ease the strain on the health service.

In 2014, it emerged that the cost of work for repairs to Stormont's roof was itself estimated at around £5m.

However, the elected representatives inside the building weren't able to keep a lid on arguments and splits to prevent another costly election.

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