YORK’S former Labour leader has had the party whip removed after rebelling over councillors’ allowances, The Press can reveal.
Clifton councillor David Scott last month voted against the Labour stance on an Independent Remuneration Panel, which looked into City of York Councillors’ pay, and he has now been sanctioned by the party, Guildhall sources have confirmed.
It is understood the removal of the whip is a temporary measure. It prevents Coun Scott participating in any Labour group meetings, discussions, functions or votes but does not affect his duties as a ward councillor.
The whip was removed after the party, with the exception of Coun Scott, voted to reject all the panel’s recommendations, including one saying that York councillors should receive annual pay rises of almost £2,600.
At the meeting where the issue was debated, Coun Scott said he believed the council should adopt the panel’s suggestions that some “special responsibility allowances” for councillors who hold certain key roles should be reduced and that allowances should not be paid for councillors’ travel within York. He told the meeting: “It is time to stop looking after personal interests”.
All three main parties rejected the panel’s recommendations, including those which would have seen allowances removed or decreased. A written report to the meeting said approving the increased basic and special responsibility allowances as suggested by the panel would cost the cash-strapped authority £173,870 a year.
When contacted by The Press, Coun Scott said he did not want to comment. Labour did not deny the whip had been removed from Coun Scott. A spokesman said: “We make no comment on internal matters”.
If the panel’s recommendations on allowances had been approved, councillors’ basic pay would have risen from £7,192.50 to £9,777.28. Special responsibility allowances for the council leader, cabinet members and other group leaders would also have increased, but those for the deputy leader of the main opposition party and one committee chairperson would have been reduced.
Coun Scott was ousted as Labour leader in May 2010 and replaced by James Alexander.