Petition over Wiltshire councillors' allowances rise passes 2,000 signatures

Wiltshire Times: Paul Gaunt Paul Gaunt

A petition calling for Wiltshire Council leader Jane Scott and her cabinet to resign after they rewarded themselves a huge increase in allowances will be presented to the organisation in the new year.

During November’s full council meeting, members voted in favour of the recommendations by the Independent Remuneration Panel, which has seen

Cllr Scott’s allowances increase by 36.5 per cent a year, taking them from £37,335, to £52,227.

Cabinet members’ allowances increased by at least 22 per cent, rising from £15,101 to £18,433 a year, while councillors’ basic allowances went up by one per cent to £12,289 a year.

Outraged at the timing of these increases, with the council making 252 staff redundant during the summer, business consultant Paul Gaunt set up his petition which has received over 2,000 signatures.

Mr Gaunt, 47, who lives in Broughton Gifford, said: “The support for the petition shows there’s a very strong strength of feeling out there and this is emphaised by the fact we are two weeks down the line and people are still signing it.”

Mr Gaunt plans to present the document to Cllr Scott at a full Wiltshire Council meeting scheduled to take place in February and have the matter debated.

The council’s constitution states that 11,500 signatures are needed for the subject of a petition to be discussed but a meeting’s chairman can use their own discretion to bring forward a matter.

The majority of the petition’s support has come online but Mr Gaunt plans to hold more paper petitions in town centres during busy Christmas shopping periods to boost the campaign.

He said: “If anyone out there is willing to volunteer and give an hour of their time to get involved running the petitions that would be great as there’s only so much I can do.

“When the petition is presented I’m planning on holding a family friendly walk through Trowbridge to County Hall with as many tax payers and service users as possible.”

Cllr Scott has repeatedly refused to speak to the Wiltshire Times about the allowances increase since it was agreed.

To view Mr Gaunt’s petition visit www.wehavesolutions.co.uk.

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