A protest against Wiltshire Council’s controversial allowances rise was supported by GMB and Unison representatives, independent councillors, Labour parliamentary candidates and some council workers today.

An extraordinary meeting started at 10.30am in County Hall, Trowbridge, to revisit the decision to grant allowance increases to all councillors, which sees some receiving an extra 36 per cent.

Protesters gathered at 10am to protest against the rise, and were expected to lobby councillors at noon. 

Gavin Brooks, Unison general organiser, said: "Over the last few years we have hundreds of jobs lost and our members have seen their pay cut by 18 per cent over the last three years.

"So for the council to increase allowances massively is a huge slap in the face to all staff."

Tax payer Paul Gaunt, who started a petition which has been signed by more than 2,600 people, said: When I started the petition I didn't imagine it would end like this, I am so pleased.

"It's not political, it's the voice of the people.

"Leadership is about admitting you can reconsider, and I urge all the councillors to look at their conscience and look long and hard before they make their vote, and put people before politics."

Council leader Jane Scott said she decided to forgo any increase in allowances during the Christmas break as a campaign against the rise had become so personal.