Assembly members pay increase of 8.3%, while ignoring the Plaid Cymru spin (doubt they would reject it, plus it's very close to local elections.....), I think it is a too much, at a time were other public sector workers are getting relatively small pay increases, if any, the AMs look set to have one well above the rate of inflation. This is a very bad idea as, understandbly, it makes people more resentful.
Of course, if can be argued that the increased responsibilites means they should get a pay rise, however not one that steep, and other public sector workers, usually the ones at the bottom of the ladder, might have increased responibilies with no pay raise, or a very pathetic one.
Politicans speak about building up trust in politics, however that cannot be rebuild aslong as politicans are seen as being on a gravy train, awarding thesmelves huge pay increases, while telling the rest of the public sector that they cannot have a massive increase because of inflation. It seems hyprocritical and just makes all politicans look like they are in it for themselves, while the vast majority of them, from all parties, are doing it out of a spirt of public service.
It is also damaging to the devolution process in itself, at the time when the Assembly is seeking law making powers, it should not look as if they are all in it for themselves. The Welsh public will not accept a law making parliament for Wales, if they see AMs as having snouts in the trough. The Welsh public need to see the Assembly as something uncorrupted, by the scandals that have rocked the other insitutions in the United Kingdom, as were the Assembly Members actually are their to serve the people of Wales, instead of being seen are serving themselves. Those opposed to a law making parliament, could also use this as a example of another pay raise that the politicans in the Assembly would award themselves if they got even more powers, as part of their attack against devolution.
If the Assembly wants to have a good reputation, if the Assembly want to be trusted and seen as being pure, if it is to become a law making Parliament, then these kind of headlines won't help.