Councillors roundly reject latest bid to put paid to controversial increases

Wiltshire Times: Council Leader Jane Scott prior to Tuesday’s full council meeting Council Leader Jane Scott prior to Tuesday’s full council meeting

The latest bid to overturn the controversial allowance increases for Wiltshire councillors failed this week, after it was resoundingly rejected in a heated meeting.

Independent councillor Jeff Osborn had called for the decision to approve allowance rises for councillors to be scrapped, but 60 councillors voted in favour of keeping the rises, with 24 supporting his motion. Six councillors abstained from voting in the meeting, which went on for over two hours on Tuesday.

In November an independent panel recommended increases of one per cent for all councillors, from £12,176 to £12,289, and 22 per cent for cabinet members, from £15,101 to £18,433.

As leader of the Conservative group and chair of the health and wellbeing committee, Council Leader Jane Scott was in line for a 36 per cent increase, from £37,337 to £52,227, which she confirmed last month she would be returning.

However, at the meeting she spoke strongly in favour of keeping the rise for other members.

She said: “I did make this decision after a long night of soul-searching. It was being person- alised to me, and this council was suffering seriously.

“However, I will not vote to rescind that decision, that decision is correct for this council. It was a decision made by this council democratically, with good, strong evidence from an independent panel.

“Many councillors have never taken allowances, and that is their personal decision.”

Liberal Democrat leader Jon Hubbard abstained in the final vote, but spoke strongly in defence of the increase.

He said: “I am a net beneficiary from this increase in salaries because I am chair of two committees of this council.

“I work on average somewhere between 50 and 55 hours per week. I am in council three days a week from 8.30am to 6.30pm, and I spend weekends out in my ward with my constituents. All this I do as a councillor and I do it with pleasure.

“Today we have seen some councillors having their day who care more about headlines than hard work. Now that’s over, can the rest of us get on with doing the real work at council.”

After the meeting Cllr Osborne said: “We will fight on; I and others will be meeting over the next few days to decide our next move. If Jane Scott thinks she has won the day, she should watch this space.”

Comments (6)

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8:32am Fri 7 Feb 14

the optimist says...

Liberal Democrat leader Jon Hubbard abstained in the final vote, but spoke strongly in defence of the increase.

He said: “I am a net beneficiary from this increase in salaries because I am chair of two committees of this council.

“I work on average somewhere between 50 and 55 hours per week. I am in council three days a week from 8.30am to 6.30pm, and I spend weekends out in my ward with my constituents. All this I do as a councillor and I do it with pleasure.

All I can say to people like this is

"IT IS A VOULUNTARY JOB AND IF YOU CANT STAND THE HEAT THEN GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN"????

To support an allowance rise but abstain from voting is also hypocrisy and two faced?
Liberal Democrat leader Jon Hubbard abstained in the final vote, but spoke strongly in defence of the increase. He said: “I am a net beneficiary from this increase in salaries because I am chair of two committees of this council. “I work on average somewhere between 50 and 55 hours per week. I am in council three days a week from 8.30am to 6.30pm, and I spend weekends out in my ward with my constituents. All this I do as a councillor and I do it with pleasure. All I can say to people like this is "IT IS A VOULUNTARY JOB AND IF YOU CANT STAND THE HEAT THEN GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN"???? To support an allowance rise but abstain from voting is also hypocrisy and two faced? the optimist
  • Score: 11

11:56am Fri 7 Feb 14

brasstacks says...

Jane Scott needs to be reminded that, in voting for and taking her Allowance rise, it BECAME "personal" because SHE personally cares more about HERSELF than she does the County who pays her to do a Job she is doing for most likely all the wrong reasons, mostlly Political ones.....

Jane Scott IS paid to cope with problems and has NO idea of the appalling affects her Cuts and single mindedness is having on our County......

As for her saying, "the council was suffering badly" (allowance rise issues..) what RUBBISH.......

She has absolutely NO idea of the suffering that she and her "Cons-Cab" HAVE put Residents and Real Staff through as a result of her Politically motivated decisions......

Services ARE what are "suffering badly" and there is NOTHING "personal" about asking Jane Scott and her Politically obsessed Cabinet for a FULL explanation of WHy they spend Funding on non Priorities.....
Jane Scott needs to be reminded that, in voting for and taking her Allowance rise, it BECAME "personal" because SHE personally cares more about HERSELF than she does the County who pays her to do a Job she is doing for most likely all the wrong reasons, mostlly Political ones..... Jane Scott IS paid to cope with problems and has NO idea of the appalling affects her Cuts and single mindedness is having on our County...... As for her saying, "the council was suffering badly" (allowance rise issues..) what RUBBISH....... She has absolutely NO idea of the suffering that she and her "Cons-Cab" HAVE put Residents and Real Staff through as a result of her Politically motivated decisions...... Services ARE what are "suffering badly" and there is NOTHING "personal" about asking Jane Scott and her Politically obsessed Cabinet for a FULL explanation of WHy they spend Funding on non Priorities..... brasstacks
  • Score: 5

4:39pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Room101 says...

Just shows you they these people who voted for it are not interested in what we think, Only in it for what they can get. If they are not happy with what they get, LEAVE.
Just shows you they these people who voted for it are not interested in what we think, Only in it for what they can get. If they are not happy with what they get, LEAVE. Room101
  • Score: 7

6:06pm Fri 7 Feb 14

brandx says...

From what I hear the behaviour of some Conservative councillors at this meeting was terrible. Not only did they jeer and bay at the speakers presenting the petition, but they adopted the same stance to a lady from Campaign for the Protection of Rural England. More people should attend Wiltshire Council meetings to appreciate how arrogant and out of touch these councillors are - and we pay for their increased allowances.

They have no understanding of the lives of ordinary people. We expect this from the Conservatives, but from what I hear, what was most disappointing was the positiion of some Lib Dems - espedcially their Leader John Hubbard. He apparently said he backed the massive increase in allowances simply because he needed the money. Then he goes and abstains.

For be fair, I am told that some of the some of the best speeches for scrapping the increases came from Lib Dems. They really do seem a split party. Now I am told that in the Bradford on Avon by election, an ex Lib Dem town councillor is now standing as an Independent. We really could do with more Independents - they seem to be the real opposition, now that Hubbard is the Lib Dem Leader.

I am starting to think at a County and Town level party politics are coming to an end if we are looking for change. We need more petitions and more Independents.. Definitely more People Power.
From what I hear the behaviour of some Conservative councillors at this meeting was terrible. Not only did they jeer and bay at the speakers presenting the petition, but they adopted the same stance to a lady from Campaign for the Protection of Rural England. More people should attend Wiltshire Council meetings to appreciate how arrogant and out of touch these councillors are - and we pay for their increased allowances. They have no understanding of the lives of ordinary people. We expect this from the Conservatives, but from what I hear, what was most disappointing was the positiion of some Lib Dems - espedcially their Leader John Hubbard. He apparently said he backed the massive increase in allowances simply because he needed the money. Then he goes and abstains. For be fair, I am told that some of the some of the best speeches for scrapping the increases came from Lib Dems. They really do seem a split party. Now I am told that in the Bradford on Avon by election, an ex Lib Dem town councillor is now standing as an Independent. We really could do with more Independents - they seem to be the real opposition, now that Hubbard is the Lib Dem Leader. I am starting to think at a County and Town level party politics are coming to an end if we are looking for change. We need more petitions and more Independents.. Definitely more People Power. brandx
  • Score: 5

6:45pm Wed 12 Feb 14

Morello says...

You are so right brandx, local government is not working. Mrs Scott said she would prefer that there were no political groups in local government, when she was doing the rounds persuading us all that unitary government would be a jolly good thing (how misguided we were). But she added that it was inevitable that groups would form.

We need a vast increase in competition for places on the council to get the whole thing focussed on what the citizens want. Proportional representation in some form appears to be the solution on the continent.

Unfortunately these councillors we have at present seem only capable of baying like an infantile "Question Time" audience so I doubt that they would debate how to actually improve the effectiveness of local government.
You are so right brandx, local government is not working. Mrs Scott said she would prefer that there were no political groups in local government, when she was doing the rounds persuading us all that unitary government would be a jolly good thing (how misguided we were). But she added that it was inevitable that groups would form. We need a vast increase in competition for places on the council to get the whole thing focussed on what the citizens want. Proportional representation in some form appears to be the solution on the continent. Unfortunately these councillors we have at present seem only capable of baying like an infantile "Question Time" audience so I doubt that they would debate how to actually improve the effectiveness of local government. Morello
  • Score: 0

2:01pm Thu 13 Feb 14

New 2 Trow says...

Jon Hubbard - why should we pay you more when you don't even have the decency to vote at meetings?! What else are you there for? You may sit in these meetings for however long you say but what's the point if you don't vote on issues?

I agree with everything said above, especially that it is a choice to become a Councillor - you cant complain its too tough and you want more money.

I would also strongly echo what brandx says above, people should go and watch the behavior of these people, some of it is truly shocking. And as for abstaining in votes - what are we paying them for if not to demonstrate some sort of view point on issues like this?!
Jon Hubbard - why should we pay you more when you don't even have the decency to vote at meetings?! What else are you there for? You may sit in these meetings for however long you say but what's the point if you don't vote on issues? I agree with everything said above, especially that it is a choice to become a Councillor - you cant complain its too tough and you want more money. I would also strongly echo what brandx says above, people should go and watch the behavior of these people, some of it is truly shocking. And as for abstaining in votes - what are we paying them for if not to demonstrate some sort of view point on issues like this?! New 2 Trow
  • Score: 0

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