Tuesday, November 11, 2008

AMs Allowances - read all about them.

So December 8th it is. That's the day when all the juicy little details about how Assembly Members spent their 'Additional Costs' allowances, between May 2006 - May 2007. Details of their 'Office Costs' and 'Travel Costs' allowances from May 2007 - May 2008 are also being published on the same date. But its the 'Additional Costs' which are likely to provide snippets which could boost sales of the Western Mail.

When the 2007 - 08 details were released, there was a real hoo-hah about a £2,000 settee, £1000 TV and audio system, and a few other odd bits. I wonder what will excite the commentariat this time, and whether all the AMs will disappear under their desks again. Last year, the media were so desperate for someone to respond that they asked me - even though I'd not been an AM for many months. I always took the view that if you claim taxpayer's money, you've got to be prepared to defend it - and publicly. I wonder how many AMs will have their mobiles turned off on Dec 7th/8th. It will be a bit awkward for all those who think they are in with a chance of winning a Politician of the Year award. They will want to hear from ITV Wales whether they 'must' turn up for the black tie Awards 'do' on the 9th!

I know all this because I've received the lists of my claims this morning - so that I can check accuracy before publication. It all looks to be in order. I was lucky that I had Phill Carlick as my PA, to make sure it was. He had a lot in common with my accountant. Sometimes I felt outraged that they refused to submit what I reckoned were entirely legitimate claims. But refuse they did - and I accepted it. Anyway, order your newspapers for Dec 8th, and find out precisely how your politicians have been using their allowances.

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