Thursday, 17 October 2013

100 or even 80 AMs seems unlikely for now.

The call by the Electoral reform Society  for the number of AMs in the Welsh assembly to be increased from 60 to 100 in order for them to properly scrutinise the government,  has much merit.
They found it had a much smaller number of AMs compared to similar law-making bodies around the world.

Although how many are as impotent due to lack of any real powers must be open to question?

The Scottish Parliament has 129 members,but it is a Parliament and has much more powers than our Assembly .

The Northern Ireland's Assembly has 108. But that  reflects the need to ensure representation from all quarters of the Six Counties and that is also why they use STV for elections rather than our Assemblies top up.

The report, Size Matters - Making the National Assembly more effective, says the backbench AMs are badly overstretched and are struggling to effectively scrutinise a "powerful and well-resourced" government.

At the moment the Assembly siambr was deliberately designed to increase to 80 members in anticipation of more powers needing  more members .

Which alas we are still waiting for.

It will be hard in these times when we are having savage cuts in our local authorities which will see our Libraries close amongst others. It will be hard to justify an increase in Assembly Members even if the number of Welsh MPs are cut..

This may not be the time as others have argued to push for this but with an increasingly bleak future . I can't see any increase in the number of AMs .no matter how much we need it.

But we are going to need them within the next 10 years  But it would be helpful if those AMs who still sit as County Councillors  sat in only one chamber . Plaid's  Lindsay Whittle Caerphilly) and Lib Dem Peter Black (Swansea) springs  to mind.

Its pretty hard to argue that you are overworked if you are doing two jobs.


Anonymous said...

I agree, people shouldn't really be doing both jobs.

But, it's not really anything to do about being "overworked", so that's a bit irrelevant to the overall point I think. At the moment, there simply isn't enough people to be doing the scrutinising. Once you take away the Govt Ministers and Labour AMs (who don't actually scrutinise), all these bills and laws are actually only being scrutinised by 5 or 6 people (in committees). That same 5 or 6 people are probably also scrutinising other legislation at the same time. So rather than being about AMs being 'overworked', it's simply not an idea situation for proper scrutiny.

glynbeddau said...

Well I suppose you are right in the sense that its largely about scrutiny. But if an AM is committed to more than one committee how much time they have for other work?

Anonymous said...

When we look at those that are our representatives and their numbers it is interesting that the group that is rising most rapidly is rarely mentioned. The numbers in the House of Lords just keep on going up and up. I think I'm right is saying that at the time of the last election the figure was around 650. The most recent figure I've seen show over 800 members. With our population that would give Wales a nominal 40 peers of the realm. The press have been recently running with the story that this with the commons is the second largest legislature in the world. Reviews of local government have been cutting the number of county councillors. In the case of Anglesey one in four councillors went.
Savings from these two elements surely could finance 40 more AMs and leave use with cash to spare.

glynbeddau said...

Yes and even if we had the nominal 40 peers 90% of them would be a waste of sp;pace.