Friday, 11 January 2008

Assembly Government Spin Doctors Costing Taxpayers £438k

The Assembly Government is to take on two new 'spin doctors' costing the taxpayer nearly £110,000.

The Assembly will now have a total of seven full-time and two part-time spin doctors, officially known as special advisers, costing about £438,000.

However, it still has fewer advisers than either the Scottish government or the Northern Ireland Executive.

At a meeting of the Cabinet, First Minister Rhodri Morgan said that the Privy Council had approved the request for the two extra appointments, which are to be recruited by open competition. They will then join the others in Cabinet Secretariat in Cardiff Bay.

Special advisers straddle the centre ground between the civil service and the parties of government. Although civil servants, they are allowed to give party political policy advice to ministers and sometimes deal directly with the media.

Opposition leader Conservative Nick Bourne, hit out at the appointments and questioned the openness of the Assembly Government:
I’m very surprised this has all been done secretly. No permission has been sought from the Assembly for these extra advisers. For a government which prides itself on openness I think I think this is very worrying. At a time when money is scarce I am wondering how they have managed to find this extra money for advisers.
Looks like Dafydd Wigley will now be able to join the salaried Plaid SpAds that include Simon Thomas and Rhuanedd Richards.


Dotcommentator 11 January 2008 at 08:59  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dotcommentator 11 January 2008 at 09:00  

They would be better off hiring some legislative counsels to advise on legislation (post-Government of Wales Act 2006) for advice rather than SpAds. I'm pretty sure Scotland and Northern Ireland have more counsels than we do.

Stevey N 11 January 2008 at 09:45  

They need an extra one to carry Jo Kiernan's arse around.

Anonymous 11 January 2008 at 11:57  

This would have been hushed up if it wasn't for journalists prying.

Senedd Whip 11 January 2008 at 12:11  

I wish it was an open competition as I've read on Betsan Powys' blog. I could do with the extra cash for giving advice all day long.

Caronwen 11 January 2008 at 17:51  

Cost is fine, but are any of them any good? That's the question we should be asking.

Anonymous 11 January 2008 at 18:56  

surely wigley couldnt be a spad and a Lord? not even he is that good..

Senedd Whip 11 January 2008 at 19:25  

"surely wigley couldnt be a spad and a Lord? not even he is that good"

Darth Vader managed it.

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