Tories go on the offensive over Constitutional Commission costs
The Welsh Conservatives have accused the government of being out of touch with the priorities of the people of Wales and “wasting taxpayers’ money” on its Constitutional Commission.
The opposition has gone on the offensive after the cost of the commission were revealed in response to a written question by Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies.
The Welsh Government confirmed that £207,000 was spent on the commission last year but the budget has increased fivefold to £1.1 million for 2022/23 and will increase again if it is still in place beyond March next year.
The response also revealed that the Chair of the Expert Panel is paid £250 per day while other members of the panel receive £200.
The Welsh Conservatives have criticised the setting up of the commission as the constitution is not devolved, and claim its membership is largely made up of people on record as wanting more powers for Wales.
“While many people in Wales are facing mounting pressures on their finances, Labour ministers in Cardiff Bay are obsessing over areas of policy they have no power over and wasting taxpayers’ money with this pet panel,” Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies MS said.
“On top of this pointless and unwanted exercise, Labour are pushing for 36 more politicians in Cardiff Bay at a cost of £100m, without the public having a say in a referendum.
“The hard-working people of Wales do not want more politicians, but more doctors, nurses, and teachers. Labour are failing in the day job so look for distractions, but voters will see right through them.”
Establishing the commission, co-chaired by Professor Laura McAllister and Dr Rowan Williams, was one of the key promises of Labour’s manifesto for the 2021 Senedd elections.
The Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales was set up in November 2021 with two key objectives – to consider and develop options for fundamental reform of the constitutional structures of the United Kingdom, and to consider and develop all progressive options to strengthen Welsh democracy and deliver improvements for the people of Wales.
Earlier this month, plans to increase the number of Senedd members to 96 were endorsed by members of all parties other than the Welsh Conservatives, however a YouGov poll published yesterday showed just 39% of respondents backed expanding the Senedd, with 61% opposed.
The Welsh Conservatives have called for the plans to expand the Senedd to be put to a referendum before they go ahead in 2026.
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