The proposals are being considered by the body that determines politicians’ pay.
The Independent Remuneration Board says it’s hard to justify the cost of a hotel for an AM living within an hour’s travel time of the capital, when many ordinary people commute a similar distance every day.
At least one AM living just down the road in Newport worked up a bill of more than £1,000 on hotel stays between 2012 and 2013.
The board is currently consulting with AMs, future election candidates and the public on a range of changes to AMs’ allowances from May 2016.
Currently AMs in Mid and West Wales as well as North Wales can claim £8,820 each year for overnight stays, which is generally used for rented accommodation in Cardiff up to a maximum of £735 a month, while members representing Gower, Neath, Swansea East and Swansea West can claim £3,420.
Members who represent constituencies, known as the “inner-area”, can claim a maximum of £1,425 for overnight stays in Cardiff every year – but this could soon be scrapped.
AMs will still be able to apply for reimbursement in exceptional circumstances.
“The board is... in agreement with HMRC that it is difficult, save in exceptional circumstances to justify the cost of a hotel for a member living within approximately an hour’s travel time of the Assembly,” the consultation document reads.
The board has also proposed, in the next Assembly, provision for AMs to argue that the geography of their constituency means they should qualify for residential accommodation.
Mohammad Asghar, Conservative AM for South Wales East who is based in Newport, was previously reported to have worked up a bill of more than £1,200 staying in Cardiff hotels during a two-year period. He stayed in Cardiff for 20 nights in 2012 and 2013, according to the AM’s expenses database.
A Welsh Conservatives spokesman said:
“The hotel bookings were not made by Mohammad Asghar, but by members’ business services to allow him to perform his duties as an assembly member and were within the rules of the National Assembly.”
Jeff Cuthbert, the AM for Caerphilly who is due to stand down at the next election, was listed on the AM’s expenses database as having stayed in Cardiff for 12 nights during 2012/13, and two in 2013/14, worth a total of £894.65. His home is in Hengoed.
“Any hotel stay would have been because I was attending a late evening event and I would have been back down to the Assembly for an early morning start.”Maybe this explains the visits by AM to Tripadvisor?
There's an answer to this .
Th assembly should consider buying one or a number of buildings convert them into Flats and AMs should who need to stay in Cardiff .
These should then be allocated to that AMs replacement and some could be reserved for overnight stays for the likes of Mr Asghar and Cuthburt,
As an initial expense it may raise some hackles but it should pay for itself in 10 years and save money in the future.
Any Am who doesn't want to live in these "One Bedroom Flats" can pay for their own accommodation.