Today there's been much coverage of information released after a FoI request about the number of politicians which are paid within the structure of British democracy. It seems that the political payroll is now over 29,000, up from 3,000 just 30 years ago. The main reasons for this are devolution and the decision to pay councillors. unsurprisingly, the cost of our democracy has gone through the roof as well. Question is what's to be done about it, and if anything should be done. Let's look at the possibilities, within the range of what seems achievable.
I don't think there will be much change at the European Parliament level. However, I do think there will be a reduction in the number of MPs - probably by around 10%. Personally, I think it should be reduced further. Its difficult to be precise about how many members of the National Assembly for Wales there should be. Daresay some think we should scrap the lot, but I don't think that's on the table at all. When it was established in 1999, the current number of 60 AMs was probably about right. But 60 would not be enough if full law making powers were to be devolved, as envisaged in Part Four of the 2006 Government of Wales Act. 80 AMs would probably be needed. Since power is being devolved bit by bit via the ridiculously complex process of Legislative Competence Orders, its not at all clear when the number of AMs should be reviewed. And finally, there is an irresistible case for reducing the number of councillors. When they were not being paid, it didn't matter what how many there were. But now, we should have no more than are needed to do the job. In Powys, where I live, I expect the current 73 councillors to be reduced to below 60 - and soon. There will be howls of rage, but this is difficult to argue against.
Tell me what you think. I'm sure there is plenty of contrary opinion out there.