The increase follows a 4.9% uplift in 2022 and pushes annual pay up to between £45,000 and £79,000 depending on a deputy’s level of responsibility.
States Assembly & Constitution Committee president Carl Meerveld said that adjusting deputies’ pay in line with changes in median earnings across the island was appropriate in the current economic climate.
‘Some may argue that deputies are worth very little. However, if you stop paying them then only certain members of the public, mostly older businessmen, would be able to afford to take on the role,’ said Deputy Meerveld.
‘It’s important to appeal to a broad demographic of people with a range of perspectives and views, which means offering a competitive salary. Those who stand for election can then be voted in or out by the community.’
But pensioners campaigner David Inglis said the pay increase was distasteful. It comes just weeks after the States rejected proposals for a mid-year uplift in pensions and other benefits in response to high rates of inflation.
‘Deputies’ salaries can be justified if they are working hard, but all they seem to do is argue and not produce the goods. There just seems to be this continuous back-biting,’ said Mr Inglis.
He is heavily involved with Age Concern and its partner organisation Ageing Well in the Bailiwick.
‘At the start of April, we sent round a flyer and accompanying document to all the deputies setting out Ageing Well’s priorities and reasons for them. Only four deputies responded. I was flabbergasted,’ he said.
‘At a time when the States says that we shouldn’t pay so much towards measures such as the temporary pension uplift, I find myself wondering why we pay all this money to them when they don’t engage with us and we receive no feedback about how to proceed.’
The highest-earning role – president of the Policy & Resources Committee – will now earn £79,000 a year. Presidents of other major committees and other members of P&R will receive £60,700. Other deputies will receive a touch under £45,000.
The policy of adjusting pay in line with median earnings was agreed by the previous States Assembly. However, it was not applied in 2020 or 2021.
Deputy Meerveld said pay was important to encourage diverse representation in the States.
He said that being a deputy was a full-time job and members regularly worked more than 40 hours each week.
‘I have worked 100-hour weeks in this role. It’s a 24/7 job and comes with a lot of pressure. You get calls from the public at all hours of the week, who demand a high level of professionalism,’ he said.
Deputy Meerveld added that politicians in Guernsey were paid less than in many other comparable places.
‘In Gibraltar, for example, ministers earn almost £100,000. You could almost flip it on its head and ask whether deputies here should be paid more, and then the public could demand even more from them,’ he said.