Conservative members of the National Assembly cost taxpayers more on average than members of any other party, official figures reveal.
The 11 Conservative AMs have claimed £177,837 this financial year in allowances for office, travel, accommodation and staff costs.
It means the average cost of a Conservative AM is £15,624 – over £1000 more than other parties.
Nation’s research comes after Paul Davies, leader of the Conservative group in the Assembly, said his party would “end the Assembly gravy train” if they won power at next year’s elections.
“A Welsh Conservative Government will cut the cost of politics,” he told his party’s annual conference in Llangollen. “We will seek to freeze the Assembly Commission’s budget for the full five-year term, and there will be no increase in the number of politicians in Wales under my leadership.”
But the cost of Conservative AMs in Wales is on average higher than other parties, official figures show, at an average of £15,624 per member.
So far in the 19/20 financial year, Labour’s 29 AMs have claimed £347,216 in allowances – an average of £11,972 per member.
Plaid Cymru’s 10 AMs have claimed £140,531 – an average of £14,053 per member. The 10 AMs who represent other parties or are independents have claimed £123,872 – an average of £12,378 each.
Paul Davies himself has a higher than average expense claim for his party at £17,440, including £7,950 costs so far this financial year for a second address.
That’s made up of £700 a month rent, a £66 a month electricity bill, an annual £1794 council tax bill and £154 annual fee for a TV license.
Plaid Cymru also pointed out that 82% of Conservative AMs have relatives working for them or are employed by Conservative colleagues in the Assembly.
Two relatives of Conservative AMs are employed in the office of Paul Davies alone.
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said: “I have one suggestion to curb the ‘gravy train’ as your call it – stop the Tories employing their own family in their offices.”
Brexit Party and Labour AMs also employ family members. Three of their four Brexit Party AMs employ family members. Eight of the 29 Labour AMs also employ family members.