(Title Image: © Copyright Pauline Eccles and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence BY-SA-2.0)
Last week, the Assembly Commission – which is responsible for running the Senedd itself – published its budget for 2020-21 (pdf).
The overall budget will stand at just over £61million – increasing by 3% in cash terms, but near enough remaining the same as last year after inflation is taken into consideration.
A cap on employed staff was lifted to enable ten additional workers to be hired to help the Senedd’s committee’s prepare for Brexit. Another major project is the development of bespoke legislative software, which is estimated to cost £1million over two financial years.
A new petitions system is also mooted, while an upgrade to the Senedd’s website is expected to be completed during 2020-21.
One particular area of growing concern is the state of Tŷ Hywel’s windows. They’re said to be nearing the end of their operational life – not aided by the building’s proximity to the sea. Their environmental performance is described as poor and they require regular maintenance.
While the Commission say their long-term aim is to take full ownership of Tŷ Hywel, under the current lease they’re responsible for repair and insurance. Replacing the building’s windows would cost an estimated £4million – though this hasn’t been included in this year’s budget and a feasibility study has been ordered at a cost of £50,000.
The layout of the public entrances to the Senedd and Tŷ Hywel will also be modified over the next two financial years to “add layers of security” to prevent what’s described as a “marauding firearms attack”.