I'm the Hen Ferchetan. This is my take on the world through the eyes of Wales. While mostly about Welsh politics (that most famous of dour topics!) I try to scatter some humour around, but I doubt anyone but me will find it funny! Have a read, and if it bores you then feel free to never come back!

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Be Nice!

It seems that Huw Lewis and Lynne Neagle have taken a bit of a flack over the expenses list, both in blog posts here, here and here, and in comments all over the place. Most of the people who found Amlwch to Magor through Google yesterday had used the search terms "Huw Lewis" "Lynne Neagle" and "expenses" or "allowances".

It's a teeny bit harsh in my opinion, as there's a few other AM's who deserve more of a tongue lashing than them. They are a special case in that they have double everyone else's allowance and because they placed themselves right in the spotlight with their day before announcement of returning all profits from the sale of the house, but they are hardly the worst offenders of stretching their expenses.

Mike German has to be considered one of the worst - why on earth does he need a second home seeing as how he lives 17 miles away from Cardiff! Alun Cairns as well deserves criticism for continuing to claim the full amount through a loophole in the rules. Lesley Griffith's £2k sofa and Nick Ramsey's £1,000 TV also raise an eyebrow.

So, just this once, maybe we should leave Huw Lewis alone!


Graham Sanders said...

A bit harsh?

Huw Lewis and Lynne Neagle claimed £2 for a Pyrex bowl and £4 for a salt and pepper set. Do the tax payers really have to contribute to this?

Hen Ferchetan said...

Would you rather they spent £1000 on two beds, or £2,000 on a sofa?

I'm not saying that Huw and Lynne are perfect goody two-shoes, just that there's quite a few AM's who deserve harsher criticism.

Also, be thankful that we know about the £2 pyrex bowl - MP's don;t have to show receipts for anything under £25. If they were MP's they could have bought a £49 bowl and we'd know nothing about it.

Anonymous said...

Here here hen ferchetan. Couldn't agree more with you.

Hen Ferchetan said...

Im sure you do agree anon 14:56 - seeing as how you visited this site three times yesterday after searching google for:

"lynne neagle expenses"
"lynne neagle and huw lewis allowances"
"lynne and huw allowances"

and twice the day before by searching Google for "Huw Lewis" I'm guessing you're a big fan of the couple!

I see that you're in Cardiff and using a Blackberry to post. There musn't be that many Blackberry using, Cardiff working Huw Lewis obsessive anon's around, is there?!

Anonymous said...

wow how do u know all that -i am so impressed

Hen Ferchetan said...

When someone (hint: that anon!) visits your blog 12 times between 10am and 6pm in a single day (last Monday) I kinda sit up, take notice! and see what i can find out about them!

Graham Sanders said...

I'd 'prefer' if tax payers money was ONLY spent on justifiable items such as travel expenses… no more, no less.

Hen Ferchetan said...

So what are the North Wales AM's supposed to do? Drive 4 hours down every morning and 4 hours back at night? Hey, at least that would get them good milage money eh!

Or should they just sell their old homes and move to Cardiff, who cares if they actually see their constituents? Hell, if we want to see our AM we should get off our fat arses and go to Cardiff right?

If the rules allow AM's to buy pyrex bowls for their Cardiff homes you can't blame them when they take it up. WHat's needed is a rule change, not limiting WHAT they spend on further, but how much.
If you want a telly for your Cardiff home, get a cheap one or pay the difference. And when you get voted out, the Assembly should get their money back.

Huw David Design said...

I totally disagree!

Assembly Members earn far too much as it stands earning over £50,000 a year with an inflation busting 8.3% pay rise in March.


Travel and accommodation expenses should come from this with NO allowances. Nearby Cardiff AM's should then have a reduced salary taking into account North Wales AM's.

Hen Ferchetan said...

£50k leaves you with £35k post tax and NI, take away two mortgage payments from that and you're left with about £23k. AM's travel up and down to Cardiff once a week, thats 360 miles roud trip. Say that they sit for 40 weeks of the year that's nearly £6k leaving them with £17k disposable income.

How on earth do we attract people of any kind of calibre to serve us a politicians if we only give them £17k disposable income?

And remember, not all the AM's are taking the above inflation pay rise, even though the rise is calculated because of the extra workload they have following the GoW Act 2006.

Huw David Design said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Graham Sanders said...

Excuse me, why are you taking away 2x mortgage payments from this amount?

I don't see why the tax payer should pay towards this. I'd propose ONLY paying for overnight accommodation if needs be. I don't wish to pay towards somebodys family home. The ordinary working man doesn't get any money for this from their employers so why on earth should AM's think they're any different.

Hen Ferchetan said...

Fine, overnight accomodation. Hotel rooms in Cardiff cost £50-£200 a night, AM's are working in the Bay 4 days a week so that's £200-£800 per week, £800-£3,200 per month....

This is going to be way more expensive than a mortgage!

As for the second mortgage (i.e. their constituency home) that is their principal home and when you're working out disposable income you always take the principal home mortgage out first.

Best option in my opinion is for the Assembly to own 60 or so flats doted around Cardiff and the Bay. AM's can use those and when they get voted out their replacements will take them over - effective and cheaper in the long term.

Hen Ferchetan said...

Oh and as for your deleted comment re: calibre of politicians and that people who want money arn;t the ones we want - yes we want politicians who are doing it out of civil responsibility but unless the money on offer is remotely close to what such people can get in the private sector then they won't come.

Graham Sanders said...

I think we've come to an agreement Hen, flats around the Bay owned by the Welsh people would be a good idea. Afterall there's enough empty at the moment.

Although stringent security measures would need to be taken.

However, I don't agree that politicians should have a wage salary that matches the private sector… but that's a totally different argument.

Hen Ferchetan said...

I'd love to find 60 capable people who care about Wales so much they'll work on our behalf for free Graham. Unfortunately it'll never happen so we have to offer something.

While we should never aim to match the massive salaries such people can earn in the private sector, we must be close enough to them that prospective AM's don't abondon the idea because they don't want to take a 50% pay cut.

It's also totally insane that our MP's are paid more than AM's.