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.

Comments (11)

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4:54pm Tue 28 Jan 14

Grampie says...

Well done to Councillor Scott for doing the right thing. Now will you please get on and mend our roads, give us back our police station, reduce the car parking charges in Salisbury, keep Hillcote open and give Salisbury back to Salisbury people.
Well done to Councillor Scott for doing the right thing. Now will you please get on and mend our roads, give us back our police station, reduce the car parking charges in Salisbury, keep Hillcote open and give Salisbury back to Salisbury people. Grampie

5:59pm Tue 28 Jan 14

hillyanne says...

I shouldn't be surprised if she feels like a move to a post in the real world where she will be paid at the right rate for an important job.This whole saga must have been most unpleasant for her.
However,the allowances should be fixed properly at the outset and not be liable to such (putative)big increases in this way.It would surely deter any future applicant otherwise.
On a pertinent point.
If only South Wiltshire Council (with its HQ in Salisbury) had been formed instead.(and North Wilts somewhere else.)
Any chance of a referendum??
I shouldn't be surprised if she feels like a move to a post in the real world where she will be paid at the right rate for an important job.This whole saga must have been most unpleasant for her. However,the allowances should be fixed properly at the outset and not be liable to such (putative)big increases in this way.It would surely deter any future applicant otherwise. On a pertinent point. If only South Wiltshire Council (with its HQ in Salisbury) had been formed instead.(and North Wilts somewhere else.) Any chance of a referendum?? hillyanne

6:47pm Tue 28 Jan 14

gingin says...

Unfortunately I cannot be so forgiving. Although at last she has shown some leadership and done the right thing what about the rest of the "Cabinet and Portfolio Holders" Her advice should follow the advice she received from Eric Pickles and tell them not to accept the huge increase in their allowances.
Unfortunately I cannot be so forgiving. Although at last she has shown some leadership and done the right thing what about the rest of the "Cabinet and Portfolio Holders" Her advice should follow the advice she received from Eric Pickles and tell them not to accept the huge increase in their allowances. gingin

6:58pm Tue 28 Jan 14

karlmarx says...

At last, common sense and justice prevails. In times of austerity it really does mean we're all in this together. So well done all the decent councillors who opposed these obscene hikes in allowances and well done to those who signed the petition and complained bitterly on have your say comments all over the county. Thank you all.
At last, common sense and justice prevails. In times of austerity it really does mean we're all in this together. So well done all the decent councillors who opposed these obscene hikes in allowances and well done to those who signed the petition and complained bitterly on have your say comments all over the county. Thank you all. karlmarx

7:04pm Tue 28 Jan 14

karlmarx says...

gingin wrote:
Unfortunately I cannot be so forgiving. Although at last she has shown some leadership and done the right thing what about the rest of the "Cabinet and Portfolio Holders" Her advice should follow the advice she received from Eric Pickles and tell them not to accept the huge increase in their allowances.
Yes there's still a long way to go yet gingin before justice is seen to be done but, it's a start. If the electorate are constantly reminded of this injustice and the many others over the next year then maybe there will be less of this behaviour in the future.
[quote][p][bold]gingin[/bold] wrote: Unfortunately I cannot be so forgiving. Although at last she has shown some leadership and done the right thing what about the rest of the "Cabinet and Portfolio Holders" Her advice should follow the advice she received from Eric Pickles and tell them not to accept the huge increase in their allowances.[/p][/quote]Yes there's still a long way to go yet gingin before justice is seen to be done but, it's a start. If the electorate are constantly reminded of this injustice and the many others over the next year then maybe there will be less of this behaviour in the future. karlmarx

8:03pm Tue 28 Jan 14

Schoolmum999 says...

So, after national news coverage, pressure from the Conservative leadership in Westminster and local residents signing a petition in their thousands, Cllr Scott does the right thing. Do me a favour!
So, after national news coverage, pressure from the Conservative leadership in Westminster and local residents signing a petition in their thousands, Cllr Scott does the right thing. Do me a favour! Schoolmum999

12:07pm Wed 29 Jan 14

gingin says...

karlmarx wrote:
gingin wrote:
Unfortunately I cannot be so forgiving. Although at last she has shown some leadership and done the right thing what about the rest of the "Cabinet and Portfolio Holders" Her advice should follow the advice she received from Eric Pickles and tell them not to accept the huge increase in their allowances.
Yes there's still a long way to go yet gingin before justice is seen to be done but, it's a start. If the electorate are constantly reminded of this injustice and the many others over the next year then maybe there will be less of this behaviour in the future.
I accept your comment Karl it is a start but it leaves a bitter taste as it has to take petitions and comments both here and on the Wiltshire Times website which reads far more strongly than ours!

Jane Scott says it became personal > what did she expect she is leader of a huge council and is always quick enough to say "the buck stops with me" , well it did just that.

Hope the policy gets reversed on Tuesday otherwise we will be relying on the rest to follow their leader!
[quote][p][bold]karlmarx[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]gingin[/bold] wrote: Unfortunately I cannot be so forgiving. Although at last she has shown some leadership and done the right thing what about the rest of the "Cabinet and Portfolio Holders" Her advice should follow the advice she received from Eric Pickles and tell them not to accept the huge increase in their allowances.[/p][/quote]Yes there's still a long way to go yet gingin before justice is seen to be done but, it's a start. If the electorate are constantly reminded of this injustice and the many others over the next year then maybe there will be less of this behaviour in the future.[/p][/quote]I accept your comment Karl it is a start but it leaves a bitter taste as it has to take petitions and comments both here and on the Wiltshire Times website which reads far more strongly than ours! Jane Scott says it became personal > what did she expect she is leader of a huge council and is always quick enough to say "the buck stops with me" , well it did just that. Hope the policy gets reversed on Tuesday otherwise we will be relying on the rest to follow their leader! gingin

4:15pm Wed 29 Jan 14

brandx says...

Did any one hear her on Radio Wiltshire. It was so embarrassing. Talk about confusion and flip flopping. I suggest she under goes a course in how to handle the media.

So what is the situation?

The notice of motion to scrap all the increases in members' allowances that were voted through on 12th November 2013 is going ahead at 10.30 am on Tuesday 4th November. Jane Scott has told us she is going to vote against this motion, as I assume most Tories are - unless the party actually splinters. But Jane Scott is not going to accept her increase. However what about all the others? Will they play the same "clever" game?

If the scrapping motion falls then the official policy of massive members' allowances remains, whether or not Jane Scott and others forgo their allowances. And if that is the official policy, what is to stop them changing their minds and reclaiming their allowances a few weeks/months later?

The whole thing is utter confusion. The simplest solution would be to vote for scrapping the increase. Which incidentally is what they did it Swindon this week. Keep the status quo, But will enough councillors have the bottle for this?

I have the feeling that the Conservative magic circle is too clever by half.

Keep the pressure on and sign the petition.
Did any one hear her on Radio Wiltshire. It was so embarrassing. Talk about confusion and flip flopping. I suggest she under goes a course in how to handle the media. So what is the situation? The notice of motion to scrap all the increases in members' allowances that were voted through on 12th November 2013 is going ahead at 10.30 am on Tuesday 4th November. Jane Scott has told us she is going to vote against this motion, as I assume most Tories are - unless the party actually splinters. But Jane Scott is not going to accept her increase. However what about all the others? Will they play the same "clever" game? If the scrapping motion falls then the official policy of massive members' allowances remains, whether or not Jane Scott and others forgo their allowances. And if that is the official policy, what is to stop them changing their minds and reclaiming their allowances a few weeks/months later? The whole thing is utter confusion. The simplest solution would be to vote for scrapping the increase. Which incidentally is what they did it Swindon this week. Keep the status quo, But will enough councillors have the bottle for this? I have the feeling that the Conservative magic circle is too clever by half. Keep the pressure on and sign the petition. brandx

5:39am Thu 30 Jan 14

IanMcL says...

Cabinet members remain to be sorted on Tuesday.

None of those live in the South of the county.
Cabinet members remain to be sorted on Tuesday. None of those live in the South of the county. IanMcL

1:34pm Thu 30 Jan 14

journalist1 says...

I don't begrudge councillors decent allowances, otherwise ordinary working people could never afford to stand for election.
But if Cllr Scott chooses to operate without a chief executive she can't really complain about having a "big job" on her hands.
I don't begrudge councillors decent allowances, otherwise ordinary working people could never afford to stand for election. But if Cllr Scott chooses to operate without a chief executive she can't really complain about having a "big job" on her hands. journalist1

8:47am Fri 31 Jan 14

Lady Tinky Winky says...

I am sorry but what do these councillors actually do? Well apart from having meetings and talking about things but never actually do anything. Well unless it is twinning or new robes.
I am sorry but what do these councillors actually do? Well apart from having meetings and talking about things but never actually do anything. Well unless it is twinning or new robes. Lady Tinky Winky

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