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Council leader turns down allowances increase
WILTSHIRE Council leader Jane Scott has decided not to accept her controversial rise in allowances, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.
Cllr Scott would have been eligible to receive allowances of more than £52,227 - an increase of nearly 40 per cent - following the decision to increase allowances in November.
But an FOI request has confirmed Cllr Scott and Cllr Stewart Dobson, from Marlborough, have refused the increase while Cllr Laura Mayes, from Devizes, refused half of her increase in allowances.
Cllr Scott had come in for severe criticism from opposition councillors and some members of her own party.
She said: “The campaign had become very personal and it was detracting from us getting any information out on the many positive projects the council was undertaking. I have received the increase up to December but I will be repaying it.
“I will only take the same allowance as I had before the decision was taken on the increase. I am happy to do this job for free as I have done for the past two years but it is a big job and if someone else takes it on in the future they should receive a proper allowance for doing it.”
Cllr Scott would have been entitled to £12,289 for being a councillor, £30,772 for being council leader and £9,216 for being chairman of the health and wellbeing board. The increase would have been backdated to last year’s May elections.
Before the vote Cllr Scott received £25,168 for being council leader and £12,167 for being a councillor.
As part of the increases, the basic councillor’s allowance went up by one per cent while those on the Cabinet saw allowances increase by at least 22 per cent, from £15,101 to £18,433, a year.
Last week Cllr Scott defended her decision to take the rise after she was criticised by communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles during a visit to Wiltshire.
A motion calling for the allowances increases to be overturned will be debated at a full council meeting at County Hall, Trowbridge at 10.30am on Tuesday, February 4.
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