Plenty of people here, here, here, here and here have been talking about the proposed pay rise for Assembly Members.
An independent panel has recommended the pay rise as recompense for the increase in AMs responsibilities since the introduction of the Government of Wales Act. Plaid Cymru opposed that pay rise on the basis that Welsh public workers have been forced to accept below inflation pay increases in a year when the Assembly has seen a tight financial settlement.
I am not opposed to renumerating workers for increased responsibilities. Neither am I a supporter of Gordon Brown's regional pay policy which will see Welsh workers on the lowest pay. I have supported various trade union campaigns (e.g this and this) which attempt to address both these issues.
I also accept the view of the independent commission (and the principle of an independent commission looking at politician's pay) that AMs workload has increased. But many Welsh public sector workers have seen increased responsibilities too. In some sectors, its been the lowest paid who have had to absorb the work done by former colleagues as posts have been deleted.
A predicted economic downturn and the need to control inflation mean that the financial situation is challenging for everyone. Assembly Members shouldn't be an exception to this.
I agree that AMs and MPs pay should be equalised as devolution develops. However, any changes should be cost neutral. Any increase in responsibilities for AMs should mean a reduction in the responsibilities of MPs. So increases in our pay should come about after freezing MPs pay. Maybe the way to ensure better treatment for public sector workers in future would be to link politicians' annual pay rises to theirs.