Wiltshire Council leader Jane Scott has decided not to accept her controversial rise in allowances, a Freedom of Information request by the Gazette has revealed.

Coun Scott would have been eligible to receive total allowances of more than £52,227 up from £37,335 - an increase of nearly 40 per cent - following the council vote to increase allowances in November.

But the FOI request confirmed Coun Scott and Coun Stewart Dobson, from Marlborough, had refused the increase and Coun Laura Mayes, from Devizes, had refused half of her increase in allowance.

Coun 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 Coun Scott received £25,168 for being council leader and £12,167 for being a councillor.

The basic councillor’s allowance went up by one per cent – a rise of £122 while those councillors who are members of the cabinet saw allowances increase by at least 22 per cent from £15,101 to £18,433 a year.

Only last week Coun Scott defended her decision to take the rise in allowances after she was criticised by Eric Pickles during a visit to Wiltshire.

She said at the time: “I will be taking the allowance, as will other councillors.”

Today Coun Scott said she made the decision not to take any increase in allowances over the Christmas break.

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 will not take the allowance for the health and wellbeing board. 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.”

A motion calling for the allowance increase to be overturned will be debated at a full council meeting at County Hall, Trowbridge at 10.30am on Tuesday, February 4.