A PROPOSAL to give assembly members an extra £10,000 a year from the next elections has been damned as “outrageous” by politicians - but will they take the money?

The board set up to recommend wages for elected members believes they deserve the extra cash as more powers are devolved to the Welsh Assembly.

But it will be a hard sell as public sector workers strike over stagnating pay and ‘zero hours’ contracts proliferate across the country.

Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay said he was surprised to learn of the suggestion - and didn’t think the public would accept it. He said yesterday: ”There’s no way that I’m going to go down to my local pub and argue for a ten grand pay increase. I think that would be completely outrageous and I don’t think the public would stand for it.”

If implemented, AMs' basic pay would increase by about 18% - from £54,390 to £64,000. There could also be across-the-board rises for the likes of the First Minister, cabinet members and opposition leaders - ranging between £4,000 to £11,000 a year.

Mr Ramsay added: “At the end of the day we need a salary settlement which is fair to AMs and fair to the public and means that we can as politicians be safe to go out of our front door without getting tomatoes hurled at us. There’s got to be a balance struck and the balance clearly isn’t there at the moment.”

He said there would now be a consultation on the matter - and he doubted that the same figure would remain after that process had concluded: “Let’s see what happens next year. I suspect we won’t have these sort of proposals on the table.”

Plaid Cymru were equally critical, with a spokeswoman saying: “The Plaid Cymru group of AMs believes that the recommendation made by the Remuneration Board for salaries post-2016 is inappropriate. We fully expect this view and wider public opinion to be taken into consideration as part of the Remuneration Board’s consultation.”

And Eluned Parrot AM, speaking on behalf of the Lib Dems, said she would reject the pay rise: “I think it's outrageous. Any public sector worker seeing that would think it was absolutely outrageous. Everybody has faced pay freezes. It’s unjustifiable to suggest that with a small increase in work load there should be a massive increase in pay.”

She said that she did not believe the argument that higher pay would encourage “exceptional people” to get involved in public life held water, saying: “What kind of people are attracted to this kind of job by money - and do we really want a political class of people who are here for the money? We want a political class of people who are here because they believe they can make a difference by being here.”

She said the Liberal Democrat group would recommend to the remuneration board that the proposal is “entirely inappropriate.”

Lindsay Whittle, Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales East, said: “A week after the Welsh Government finally settled a 1 per cent pay deal with frontline NHS workers, it is obscene to suggest that politicians should be awarded a pay rise of £10,000 a year.

“Plaid Cymru will be responding to the Remuneration Board consultation urging a U-turn and we hope the board will rethink their proposals in the light of widespread concerns.”

Alun Davies, Labour AM for Blaenau Gwent, told ITV Cymru Wales' Sharp End programme: “My honest feeling is that AMs’ salaries should be linked to a particular grade in the civil service and that’s it. We shouldn’t be constantly reviewing our own salaries and allowances. We need to move away from that sort of politics.

"I was on picket lines not so long ago supporting friends and colleagues who are struggling for a decent pay rise to pay for things their families need and I feel enormously embarrassed to read this.”

Fellow Labour AM Lynne Neagle said: “I have concerns about the pay proposals presented by the Remuneration Board; I intend to raise those concerns with colleagues at our next Labour group meeting before we issue our formal consultation response.”

And Andy Richards Secretary of Unite Wales said: "These independent recommendations will rightly be met by incredulity by our members and people across Wales - many of whom are at the sharp end of the impact of austerity when it comes to their own wages.

“Whilst the rest of Welsh workers remain subject to the double whammy of wage restraint and rising cost of living, the decent thing to do is for our Assembly Members to reject the recommendations as they stand.”

The consultation runs until January with the public invited to submit their views - and reactions so far indicate those views are going to be strong.