Monday, 27 May 2013

AM calls for top up of £53,852 salary.

The Wasting Mule  claims that " row has broken out over a proposal that would see AMs with responsibility for young children or elderly relatives able to claim a carer’s allowance on top of their £53,852 salary".

Is this from a Labour or Plaid feminist?

 No. The  proposal for an additional carers’ allowance has been put forward by North Wales Conservative AM Antoinette Sandbach, whose daughter attends a boarding school in England.

It is being considered by Sir George Reid,  chairman of the Assembly’s Remuneration Board, who wrote to AMs last month stating the board believed there “may be merit in such a proposal”.

Ms Sandbach’s submission to Sir George  Reid, a former Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, stated:  and SNP MP , Knighted on 2010 stated 

: “There are three broad reasons justifying the immediate introduction of a defined carers allowance for all members:
"It would ensure that the National Assembly for Wales provides similar support for members who are carers as other legislatures in the UK. The other three UK legislatures already have caring provisions in place;
"It would demonstrate clearly and definitively to potential-candidates for future Assembly elections that caring responsibilities need not present a barrier to election; and
"Given that statistically more women than men are likely to have caring responsibilities, this would provide a lead, and set an appropriate example, for other stakeholder groups in response to calls from the Presiding Officer (and other leading Welsh politicians) for a more representative gender balance amongst AMs.

Western Mail 27th May 2013 

Last month Mr Reid wrote a letter to all AMs stating:

 “The National Assembly for Wales places a significant emphasis on equality and there being no barrier to standing for election as an AM and, if elected, individual Members carrying out their duties.
“We [the Remuneration Board] believe there may be merit in such a proposal and that it should cover a wide range of caring needs that might include children, elderly relatives and partners with particular needs. We shall issue a discussion paper on the matter for consultation with Members.
"In the event of there being support for the proposal we would include such a measure in a future Determination in this Assembly. This would inform candidates standing in the 2016 Assembly election.”
 Western Mail 27th May 2013

I am trying to be fair here and  think for instance what my reaction would be if this had come from say Leanne Wood.

But our AM already get a reasonable remuneration package compared with most of us and the cal from someone  who   owns woodland, agricultural farmland and estate property in Conwy, residential property in London and shares in a Chambers building in London as Ms Sandbach,  entry in the Members’ Register of Interests shows hardly look like she suffering .

With some families in Wales struggling to buy new school Uniforms each year . The idea of someone  calling for greater child care  when her daughter  is in a boarding school even if she has no intention of making the claim herself . Makes it hard to support in these times of us "all being in it together. 


  1. I can understand the logic behind it, but I have to say - and it's not often I'd say this - I'm with the Taxpayers' Alliance on this one.

    It's not as if the allowances elsewhere have boosted gender balance. It's the job itself and socio-economic background that's the big block to getting more women (in particular) into politics.

    If AMs really need "financial support" - despite earning twice the average Welsh salary - then they should use the facilities there for the rest of us. In this case Carer's Allowance, which us just under £60 a week, though I don't think Universal Credit has/will affect that.

  2. Antoinette Sandbach11 June 2013 at 13:12

    The reality is that I was a lone parent when elected to the Assembly. Whilst other assembly members have boosted their household incomes by employing their spouses, which can then be used to cover additional childcare costs, that is not open to lone parents. I wish to make sure that if there are ever any lone parents elected in North Wales, that they will have the ability to claim the same as a female Westminster MP who would get that allowance

    1. Thank you for your comment Antoinette. I accept you were thinking of others not yourself But \i fimf myself on agreement
      with Owen above.