Wales politics

AMs pay top-up reduction plan 'does not go far enough'

Welsh assembly
Image caption A pay rise will recognise 'new responsibilities' and 'new expectations' on AMs, the board says

Plans to cut salary top-ups for senior AMs do not go far enough, a Conservative AM has said.

Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay suggested some members, including opposition party leaders and committee chairs, could lose their extra payments altogether.

He told BBC Wales' Sunday Politics the money saved could fund a "modest increase" in pay for backbenchers.

A proposed 18% pay-rise for AMs' basic pay was "completely outlandish", he said.

Under plans from the assembly's remuneration board, basic pay would rise from £54,390 to £64,000 after the 2016 election.

AMs can earn more for additional duties - for example, if they are government ministers, if they lead a political group, or if they chair a committee.

But the board wants to cut the additional payments made to ministers and the presiding officer.

Image caption Nick Ramsay says scrutiny of the Welsh government in the assembly had been failing

Under the plans, committee chairs and opposition leaders would get a small increase.

For example, additional payment received by Tory leader Andrew RT Davies could rise £580 to £27,000, taking his total salary from £80,810 to £91,000.

But Mr Ramsay said the constraints do not go far enough.

"I'm saying that if you look at what they did in Scotland where they decided to remove many of the allowances and use that money to make savings and to provide a small uplift for other backbench members of the Scottish parliament," he said.

"If you look at what they've done then the remuneration panel should go further down the road at looking at this."

He said scrutiny of the Welsh government in the assembly had been "failing for a long, long time" and that a "more modest increase" than the one proposed by the board was needed.

The board, whose members do not include AMs, has the final say on pay and allowances. A consultation on its proposals closes on Monday.

Sunday Politics Wales can be seen on BBC One Wales at 11:00 GMT on Sunday, 11 January.

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