The Independent Remuneration Board has set out the new system of pay and allowances for Assembly members elected in May.
The headlines are below. Reaction to follow.
AMs’ salary to be fixed at £53,852 for four years from May (Confirms what we already knew – AMs themselves agreed to this move back in November)
Top-up salaries for ministers, deputies, Presiding Officer and Counsel General also to be fixed at current rates for 4 years
Total cost of salaries and allowances reduced by £500m for 2011-12 = £12.7m, a 7.1% reduction compared to 2010-11
AMs’ family members can still be employed but they’ll be interviewed by Assembly HR and must be shown to be the best person for the job.
The number of AMs able to claim second home support is to be reduced from 51 to 25 (Confirmation of what was recommended in the Roger Jones review and previously accepted by all parties)
Those who are eligible can only claim rent of up to £700 per month and utilities and other essential expenses.
The 35 AMs not eligible for accomodation support can claim up to 20 nights stay in Cardiff at £95 a night.
The controversial Resettlement Grant for AMs who are leaving will be restricted to those who are defeated at election. In other words retiring AMs or any who don’t seek re-election will no longer be eligible. For AMs starting in May the grant will be based on length of service.
Travel: AMs will only be able to claim reimbursement for travel in connection with their duties as an AM.
Staff: AMs will be able to employ up to 3 full time equivalents at up to a total of £89,000 but when they take staff on they should start at the basic level unless there’s a compelling reason otherwise. AMs will not be able to transfer office costs to staff salaries.