The Welsh Assembly’s Remuneration Board has forced a 18.5% pay increase upon members of the devolved government taking the pay of a back bench Assembly Member (AM) from £54,000 to a staggering £64,000.
The Welsh Assembly’s Remuneration Board is an independent body established in 2010 to ensure that AM’s have the right resources to do their job. The body have claimed that pay increases are an essential tool in attracting the highest calibre of candidate into politics. Sadly this non-elected and unaccountable body has no political representatives that can be held to account for this raid on the public purse.
It is claimed that the pay increases of up to £10,000 will be paid for by a reduction in pension contributions, frozen or minimal pay increases through government departments and a lesser increase for Government Ministers. However it is added that they are essential due to the increased work load of Welsh AM’s. The figure of £64,000 now stands only just a few thousand less than what Westminster MP’s get paid, so the people of Wales could see an influx of ousted former MP’s cross the border in an attempt to capitalise on Welsh Geo-Politics.
Thankfully all political parties have criticized the move, with First Minister Carwyn Jones claiming that such pay increases will make his job harder trying to justify pay freezes to public sector workers whereas a Welsh Conservative Spokesperson stated that ‘they are committed to reducing the cost of Welsh Politics’.
This will be a very bitter pill for the Welsh public to swallow, at the end of a backroom consultation carried out by non-elected representatives that cannot be held to account. It is time for proper transparency for consultations that dramatically affect the public purse to be well advertised and for our elected representatives to make all attempts possible to cut the cost of politics in Wales.
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