IN THESE challenging times, instead of worrying about when I can be allowed to have a haircut, should not the Senedd (recently rebranded, at a cost to us of £294,600) look carefully at its own costs?

There are sixty MSs (formerly AMs), 40 constituency members, including our own Russell George and 20 others elected by proportional representation.

Of those 20, four represent you as members for Mid and West Wales.

They cost us at least £250,000 each, but can you name them?

The four are Neil Hamilton, Helen Jones, Eluned Morgan and Joyce Watson.

Each of the four, with their salaried staff and office costs, travel costs and pensions (over £10,000 each), costs a minimum of £250,000 annually.

The 20 cost us, at least £5 million each year.

One of them racked up over £115,000 of support staff costs in 2018/19 in addition to the basic salary of £65,344, and then there were travel and accommodation costs, office costs, pension contributions etc. ad infinitum.

Only four of the 20 have modest ministerial office – three administrative commissioners and one, our own Eluned Morgan, as Minister for International Relations – scarcely key posts at the heart of Government.

It is easy to spend other people’s money.

It eventually filters down to us, in Powys, with a 9.5 per cent council tax increase in recent years.

Powys’s stingy settlements, from the Senedd, mean unjustified rises in a time of austerity and near zero inflation, while an MS can look forward to a guaranteed 4.4 per cent annual pay increase in October 2020.

If the Senedd is to have any future credibility, with business in the dark economic days to come, a downsizing by twenty MS members, in the already postponed elections to May 2021, would be a positive and necessary signal.

And why not take a 20 per cent salary cut, for six months, for all members of the Senedd (matching furlough conditions), to show our small country that the Senedd really cares. New Zealand Kiwis, ably led by Premier Jacinda Ardern did it, thereby creating her five million strong “team.”

The Senedd could, and should, consider urgently, ongoing costs and extravagance, or like other over reaching bureaucracies, find themselves cast aside through their own folly and waste.

Bruce Lawson, FCA