National Assembly’s independent Remuneration Board holds first meetings with Assembly Members

Published 14/10/2010   |   Last Updated 14/07/2014

National Assembly’s independent Remuneration Board holds first meetings with Assembly Members

14 October 2010

The National Assembly’s independent Remuneration Board today (Thursday 14 October) held its first meeting with Assembly Members and their staff as part of what Board Chairman George Reid called an “open and ongoing dialogue” in ensuring a fair and transparent remuneration system for Members.

The Board, which was established as a result of the Assembly Commission-proposed National Assembly for Wales (Remuneration) Measure, is made up entirely of independent members, all of whom have substantial experience of the work of elected politicians and remuneration issues in the private and public sectors.

George Reid, the Board’s chairman, said that Assembly Members, whom he praised for already having developed a robust and transparent system of allowances, had made valuable contributions to the day’s discussions.

“Several major issues for further discussion emerged during talks with Assembly Members and their staff,” said Mr Reid.

“First, there was a clear acknowledgement that these discussions about remuneration issues are happening against a backdrop of public and private sector pay-freezes, with the National Assembly itself preparing for a reduction in its budget of up to 25 per cent following next week’s Treasury-led Comprehensive Spending Review.” Such a severe fiscal context inevitably made the need for a fair but accountable system even more pressing, he added.

“As a result, we have suggested that Members may wish to agree to a voluntary pay-freeze for the Fourth Assembly.

“Secondly, Assembly Members hold the Welsh Government to account, make laws for Wales and represent the interests of the people of Wales, and do so from a party political standpoint. Members must be resourced in fulfilling these functions.

“It is apparent to the Board that there is substantial opposition to the original proposal by the Independent Review Panel to centralise party resources.  We will be taking these concerns on board.”

Mr Reid said the wide-ranging discussion had also touched on potential cost-saving initiatives such as an increased emphasis on central purchasing of services for Members across Wales.

“Today’s discussions started to map out a way forward for the Board,” said Mr Reid. “By the end of February 2011, we hope to have produced a determination which is clear, sustainable and offers value for money in the payment of salaries and allowances to Assembly Members in the Fourth Assembly.  We will be working to two main comparators:

“First, we will look at a matrix of elected representatives’ remuneration against their respective responsibilities in the House of Commons, the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

“Secondly, we are determined to look at this in the context of earnings in Wales. It is central to our work that, over the next four years, what AMs receive reflects the reality of what Welsh men and women receive in their pay packets.”

Each Assembly Member will be invited to respond in writing to a consultative document which will be issued in November. Mr Reid said that the Board would also welcome submissions from the general public and representative organisations.

National Assembly for Wales Remuneration Board