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OPINION: Decrease the 'base' pay of States Members

OPINION: Decrease the 'base' pay of States Members

Wednesday 02 June 2021

OPINION: Decrease the 'base' pay of States Members


It is time we reassess the relationship between remuneration of position and remuneration of service.

Doing less, taking on less responsibility and getting paid less may seem like an all-too-familiar concept in the business world - but within the world of politics it seems to be positively foreign.

With the States set to debate approving a new independent system for the setting of States Members’ remuneration in June, I feel it wise to explore historic suggestions of States Assembly pay increases.

2019 recommendations by the States Members’ Remuneration Review Body suggested the following: £50,000 base pay for States Assembly members come June 2022, 15,000 additional payment for Chief Minister and 7,500 additional payment for Ministers and Scrutiny Chair.

However, the ways we distribute these monies is important and a blanket increase for all isn’t necessarily going to deliver the most productive assembly.

In this column I’ve decided to explore how we can make the proposed States Assembly pay increases go further.

Now that we are clear on the funds involved, let's start slashing away and make some savings!

  • Reduce the size of Assembly by 7, slashing 7 Deputies will save us 350k per annum.
  • Set all remaining Deputy's pay to 45k, this will save us a further 150k per annum.
  • Set all Constable's pay to 35k with an option of Parish topping up for 'exceptional service' using Parish funds. This will save us 180k per annum.

This leaves us with a total saving of 680k per annum so let’s start reallocating the funds.

  • Firstly we will give the Chief Minister an additional payment of 55k giving him a total of 100k per annum.
  • Secondly we will give the Deputy Chief Minister an additional payment of 35k bringing his total to 80k per annum.
  • Thirdly we will allocate all Ministers plus the Scrutiny President an additional payment of 25k bringing their total to 70k per annum.
  • Fourthly we will increase all Assistant Ministers and the backbencher Chairs of the three most substantial committees pay by 15k bringing their total to 60k per annum.
  • Lastly backbenchers and Constables who engage in committee work will receive 5k additional payment bringing the Deputy total to 50k, and the Constable total to 40k per annum.

Those already in receipt of an additional payment, who choose to take on other rules associated with a further additional payment will only receive the highest additional payment.

And with that stroke in the proverbial ledger, we have completed our allocation of funds, and we are a minimum of 50k in the green per annum, assuming a government of 21 States Assembly members, and all backbencher Deputies and Constables taking a proactive part in committee work.

This is by no means a finished comprehensive analysis of States Assembly remuneration, but speaks to sense and provokes thought around an area which has far reaching impact on islanders lives and our government's fiscal responsibility.

It’s imperative that our Assembly is a well-oiled machine, and as productive as can be with remuneration of roles in the Assembly reflecting the time commitment involved, and serving to expand the pool of readily available political candidates.

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