Welsh Tory leader takes aim at ministerial pay and 'part-time parliament'


Welsh government ministers would have their pay cut by 10% if the Conservatives win the next Assembly election, party leader Andrew RT Davies has promised.

Wales's First Minister's salary will rise to £140,000 this May while their cabinet team will also get a wage boost.

However, Welsh Tory chief Mr Davies believes the Senedd's top politicians should have their pay reduced - and wants to use the saved cash to boost young people's involvement in politics.

He is also calling for the Assembly to have shorter holidays and members to sit longer - branding the institution a "part-time parliament".

Farmer-turned-politician Mr Davies will outline his proposals in a speech later in Cardiff.

He is expected to say: "Wales should embrace organisations that encourage children and young people to get involved in the decision-making process and to support them in understanding their rights and responsibilities.

"And denying young people that opportunity to learn, to influence and to develop is all the harder when, indeed, Assembly Members are set to benefit from a pay rise of their own.

"That's why a Welsh Conservative government would cut ministerial pay by 10% across the board and plough every penny of that funding into giving young people a voice - reviving support for a national children and young people's assembly for Wales."

Last year, an independent panel's decision to give AMs a pay rise sparked heated debate across Wales and prompted criticism from all parties.

The Assembly's remuneration board insisted that higher salaries were justified given that Wales has more powers than ever before and the lure of better pay could also improve the calibre of candidates.

While Mr Davies stopped short of calling for a pay cut across the board, he said he is against proposals to increase the number of AMs.

And as well as a reduction in ministers' salaries, he wants the Assembly to sit more often and for longer hours.

He will say: "Many commentators reach lazily for tried and tested arguments and call for more AMs here; but that's not going to improve engagement with the public. We need better politics - not more politicians.

"At times, the Assembly gives the impression of being a 'part-time parliament'.

"I've lost count of the number of occasions on which Welsh Government business has been wrapped up on a Tuesday by 5pm."

Mr Davies's speech - entitled What A Future Welsh Parliament Should Look Like - will take place in the Welsh Assembly's Ty Hywel building at 7pm.