Councillors vote to keep 36 per cent allowance hike
1:14pm Tuesday 4th February 2014 in News
WILTSHIRE councillors today voted to keep the allowances rise of up to 36 per cent for cabinet members.
Councillors voted 60 against the motion to rescind the vote in November, 24 voted for the move to scrap the increase and six abstaind.
Council leader Jane Scott has already said she will not take the increase.
Earlier Wiltshire councillors clashed in the debate over whether or not to rescind the allowances rise.
Council taxpayer Paul Gaunt has organised a petition against the move which has 2,673 signatures and that was received and noted by today's extraordinary meeting.
Paul Corban, Labour parliamentary candidate for Salisbury, told councillors: "Today you have been gifted an opportunity to defend your position and to say why you feel you need these increases.
"Alternatively you can allow the motion to rescind the decision, accepting you have misjudged the public mood and can regain some face."
Both Coun Scott and Jon Hubbard, Lib Dem leader, both spoke against rescinding the decision, with Coun Hubbard defending his rise. Coun Jeff Osborn said: "It seemed the leader had a long hard night of the soul, but is has to be asked why it took an FoI (by the Gazette) to get this out in the open, especially when she was telling (government minister) Eric Pickles she would stick to her guns.
"It was without doubt the right decision, it is the correct moral decision."
Coun Ricky Rogers said: "I don't know a single item in 25 years that has caused such unrest in my community.
"It has caused public concern and we all need to recognise that.
I don't think anybody should be able to come here and be out of pocket, but there is a balance and this is out of balance Coun Hubbard said: "In November I voted against the pay rises. I felt there were significant elements of that report that were not fair.
"Today I am not going to vote to rescind it. To rescind a decision is to say the basis on which we made that decision was unsound.
“I am a net beneficiary from this increase 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 6.30am, and I spend weekends out in my ward with my constituents.
"All this I do as a councillor and I do it with pleasure. We should be giving the opportunity for younger members of our community to earn enough money to live on.
"It's scandalous that I am the second or third youngest person on this council, and I am 33.
"Let us have a system that enables people if they chose to give up their career and spend time on council, to earn enough money to be able to do that.”
Coun Chris Devine said: "Jeff Osborn says this is not personal. He has put forward something he knows he can't win.
"Jeff is a good guy in scrutiny but he has no value outside of that...that's what he is, a ruddy nuisance.
"Jeff, I am sick to death of your sanctimonious humbug.
I know what Jeff is, he's a moonraker; he sees the moon in the water and he can't get it through his head that it's unobtainable.
"I voted for the increase and I will vote for it again. I am proud of this council.
"We are worth it, we do a damn good job. I am a councillor, this is what I do and I love it."
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