The Independent Remuneration Board of the Senedd (the Board) has (at its meeting on 4 March 2021) decided to freeze the pay of Members of the Senedd for the next financial year in the light of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Today (18 March 2021), the Board has published an exceptional decision concerning the salaries of Members and additional office holders from the start of the Sixth Senedd.
The exceptional decision means that Senedd Members’ pay, having been frozen by the Board in 2020-21, will also be frozen for the first year of the Sixth Senedd (2021-22) and for the remainder of the current Senedd term (2020-21). It will also mean that that future pay changes will be subject to a maximum increase of three per cent.
The Board concluded that the gravity of the ongoing economic impact of the pandemic and the opposing view of Senedd Members means that any pay increase would be inconsistent in the context of salaries elsewhere in Wales. This Board agreed it was important to ensure that its decisions reflect the wider financial circumstances of the nation.
This decision follows a public consultation undertaken by the Board on changes to Members’ pay and allowances for the next Senedd term.
On the salary freeze, Chair of the Board, Dr Elizabeth Haywood said:
“Following a year of unfavourable economic conditions, the impact of the pandemic continues to rage and ravage incomes of Welsh workers. Despite an economic resurgence for a period last year, continued lockdowns and other measures have slowed this recovery.
“The evidence suggests that many in Wales will not have escaped the economic hardship caused by the pandemic. They are also unlikely to do so for some time yet.
“The overwhelming opposition by parties in the Senedd to any changes to salaries was also an important factor. Given these conclusions, the Board decided to freeze the salaries of Members and additional office holders for a second year.”
The Board has also decided to place a cap on annual pay changes for Senedd Members’ staff. It has also put in place improved pension arrangements for staff as well as changes to the stationery allowances available to Members.
Dr Elizabeth Haywood said:
“The decisions published today are also aimed at providing clarity to those thinking of standing for election to the Sixth Senedd on the total package of remuneration available to Members of the Senedd.
“All decisions will be reviewed during the course of the next Senedd term, in line with the Board’s reviewing mechanisms, to ensure Members are able to carry out their duties effectively whilst also, as always, ensuring excellent value for money for the taxpayer.”