Monday 20 May 2024
Select a region
News

FOCUS: Should Ministers earn more than other States Members?

FOCUS: Should Ministers earn more than other States Members?

Tuesday 17 October 2023

FOCUS: Should Ministers earn more than other States Members?

Tuesday 17 October 2023


Ministers could receive more pay than other States Members in future, if the Assembly takes forward recommendations from an independent reviewer.

Jennifer Long, Jersey's first Independent Remuneration Reviewer, also recommended that external non-States members with appropriate expertise should be added to the States Employment Board to “strengthen its capacity and reduce the risks of substantial changes in membership at the same time”.

Ms Long has determined that States Members will receive yearly increases in their pay, according to a finalised report following a period where she sought feedback.

A total of 73 islanders responded to the public consultation – made up of 60 members of the public, one former States Member, one person who identified as a potential future candidate, and 11 current States Members.

Determinations

Following the feedback, Ms Long has stuck with with her determination that "the salary for each States Member shall be increased each year, in line with the Average Earnings Index (AEI) published that year by Statistics Jersey".

The value shows how the earnings of employees in Jersey have changed over the previous year.

In June 2023, the all-sector average earnings were 7.7% higher than in June 2022 – the highest increase since 2001.

The first pay rise will be backdated to 1 June, while the second will be made from 1 October 2024, and each 1 October annually thereafter.

From January 2024, the 'employer' contribution to States Members' pensions will also be increased from 10% to 16% of the States Members' salary applicable at a given time.

Recommendations

However, Ms Long also made some additional recommendations to the States Assembly to consider – including changes to the current situation that Ministers are paid the same as other States Members.

She described Jersey as "unique among a wide range of international comparators in not paying its Ministers an additional salary related to that role".

CM_Kristina_Moore.jpg

Pictured: One member of the public said it was "frankly a farce that the back bencher gets paid the same as the Chief Minister".

Therefore, Ms Long wrote: "It is not within the remuneration reviewer's power to override the legislation, but it is within the power of the States Assembly itself to change the legislation.

"I strongly recommended that the Assembly makes such a change before the appointment of the next remuneration reviewer after the next election."

The public were in agreement, with some labelling it "ridiculous" and "idiotic" that Ministers did not currently receive some extra pay, with one describing it as "frankly a farce that the back bencher gets paid the same as the Chief Minister".

The Independent Remuneration Reviewer has also recommended that if an additional salary were paid to Assistant Ministers, it should only be paid in cases where a formal delegation framework was in place indicating the extent of the Assistant Minister's additional responsibility.

Age-old debate?

This report is the first time the pay of States Members has been decided entirely independently, after the Assembly agreed a new system for the process last year.

But it is not the first time Members have debated whether some should receive more than others.

Ian_Gorst_in_office.JPG

Pictured: In 2017, Ian Gorst said that a full review of politicians' pay and conditions was needed.

In 2017, then Chief Minister Ian Gorst narrowly missed out on a 15% pay rise when a proposition failed to pass the States Assembly.

During the debate, some recognised the significance of the extra responsibilities that the Chief Minister takes on while others suggested it was not right to implement sliding pay scales.

What do politicians get paid?

Under current States rules, all Members must receive the same pay of £50,000 per annum regardless of whether they take on additional Ministerial or Scrutiny responsibilities.

In comparison, Guernsey politicians receive between £45,000 and £79,000 depending on level of responsibility.

In the Isle of Man, the basic salary for a Member of the House of Keys is £67,557 per annum – and the Chief Minister receives 30% more (£87,824), with Ministers receiving 15% more (£77,690).

What did the public have to say?

Some respondents felt very frustrated by what they saw as failures by the States Assembly, with the handling of the hospital development project being specifically cited in several responses.

One commented: "They are not value for money, especially with their bad choices regarding hospital planning expenditures this past five years."

Other commented on the size of the States Assembly, saying: "It seems that there are too many States Members compared to other, more efficacious, territories."

hospital1.JPG

Pictured: "They are not value for money, especially with their bad choices regarding hospital planning expenditures this past five years."

A respondent who had formerly been a States Member argued that more attention should have been paid to the resources available to support States Members, particularly in relation to Deputies who are not Ministers.

Opinions on pay varied, with some suggesting they were underpaid and others saying that "their current wage is more than adequate for the lack of progression on many important decisions".

"With no qualifications required, the starting salary of a politician compared to a teacher is appalling," another wrote.

Sign up to newsletter

 

Comments

Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

You have landed on the Bailiwick Express website, however it appears you are based in . Would you like to stay on the site, or visit the site?