A PAIR of councillors determined to embarrass Wiltshire Council chiefs over their increased allowances, are calling for public support.
Independent Councillors Terry Chivers, and Jeff Osborn are asking residents to turn up to Wiltshire Council’s meeting on February 4 “to send a clear message to council leader Jane Scott, and the ruling Conservatives on Wiltshire Council” about increases in allowances that were agreed last year. The meeting, at County Hall in Trowbridge, was called after the required number of councillors requested it, in an attempt to reverse the increases of up to 37 per cent that were voted through for Cllr Scott and her cabinet.
Cllr Chivers said: “The Conservatives are on the run, and cracks are starting to appear in the Conservative group. Talking in private to some Conservative councillors, it’s very clear that some of their councillors are very unhappy.”
Cllr Osborn said: “Let’s show Jane Scott, that she must listen to the residents of Wiltshire. We can reverse this decision but we need the support of the residents of Wiltshire to turn up on February 4 at 10am. Even if we are defeated this issue will not go away. We will campaign against these increases until the next election when the public will send a clear message to Jane by giving her a red card at the next council elections.”
The row about allowances has rumbled on since Cabinet members had theirs boosted by at least 22 per cent, with Cllr Scott pocketing an increase of 37 per cent – taking her total allowances to £52,227.
Councillors’ basic allowances went up by one per cent to £12,289 a year.
The increases followed recommendations from an independent remuneration panel and were backdated to May.
The meeting is also set to receive a 2,673-name petition from Wiltshire resident Paul Gaunt, calling on the leader and cabinet to resign. The petition states that the increase in allowances “shows a total disregard for service users, the front-line and back office staff at the council, as well as the council tax and business rate payers of the county of Wiltshire”.