In the flurry of political activity yesterday, it was easy to miss a significant change in the way senior AMs are paid, the latest stage of a wholesale shake up of salaries and allowances.
While we were all waiting for the Welsh Conservative leadership result yesterday I tweeted these:
The second part of George Reid’s report into AMs’ salaries & allowances is out later & I hear there’s less money for opposition leader.
Quite a bit less it seems – £15k less than @nick__bourne was paid when he was leader.
I mentioned this significant change to the new leader of the Opposition, Andrew RT Davies, last night and he said ‘Just goes to show, I’m not in it for the money.’
It’ll still be a hefty pay packet though, totalling just over £80,000 when combined with the standard AM’s salary of just under £54,000.
But if the main opposition leader is getting a pay cut, the leaders of the other two parties will be get a pay rise. Plaid’s leader will get a top-up of £23,240 and the Liberal Democrat leader will get £17,420.
These figures have been worked out using a formula developed by the former Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, George Reid and his Independent Renumeration Board.
He said it was important opposition leaders were properly paid for an important role holding the Government to account, but that
We could not however accept that it was appropriate for the leader of the largest party in opposition to receive £30,000 more than the leader of the next party as was the case in previous years. In a broadly proportional Assembly, there might be only a couple of seats between them.
So each of them now get £12,420 on top of their backbench salary plus £1000 for each member of the group they lead.
Other pay changes are:
- Chairs of eight Committees will be paid £12,420.
- The chairs of two smaller Committees will be paid £8,280.
- Assembly Commissioners will also be paid £12,420.
- Payment to whips will cease.
- Parties’ business managers will get ‘a base payment’ of £6,210 plus £250 per member in their group up to a limit of £12,420.
The Board reckons it’ll save the Assembly just over £71,000 a year.
This is the second phase of its work. Back in March it froze AMs’ salaries at £53,800 for the next four years, banned AMs from claiming mortgage payments and cut the number able to claim rent.
The third stage, starting in the autumn, will look at pensions for AMs, office-holders and staff.