WILTSHIRE'S Liberal Democrat leader Ian Thorn could be the biggest beneficiary if recommendations for member's allowances are approved by full council next week.

An independent panel has recommended that the allowance for the Lib Dem group leader should rise from £1,500 a year to £6,000 and the money should be back dated to May 8.

Conservative leader Jane Scott would also see her allowance rise from £3,900 to £8,000 but this would be offset by a recommendation to remove a group responsibility allowance of £6,800. Under this heading by contrast the Lib Dems would lose only £2,000.

A report to the meeting to be held at County Hall on Tuesday says the total amount the council would pay out to all members if the new amounts are agreed would be £1.864 million which is a rise of £17,000.

The allowance of £12,811.80 paid to all members would rise by one per cent.

But Conservative councillor Graham Payne said this week that he thinks all allowances should be frozen.

He said: "In the current financial situation I do not think there should be any increases."

A spokesman for Wiltshire Council said: "An independent panel brings a report to full council regarding allowances, which councillors will then vote on.

"The panel determines its recommendations based on, among other factors, schemes from comparable local authorities around the country.

"Every member is entitled to a basic allowance, and those with special duties are entitled to an additional allowances to reflect their roles – including cabinet members, area board chairs and chairs of other committees.

"All members are also entitled to claim expenses relating to their council work.”