Five councillors summonsed for council tax debts are named

FIVE of the six Kirklees councillors sent a court summons for council tax arrears have been named – and only one is from the North Kirklees area.

Coun Amanda Stubley (Lab, Batley East) owed £763.53 in the 2014/15 financial year.

She was sent reminders for sums of £32.12 and £73.53 and then a court summons for the larger amount, all in 2014/15.

Coun Stubley was asked to comment but had not responded before our deadline yesterday (Thurs).

Labour group leader Coun Shabir Pandor (Lab, Batley West) said: “Council tax helps pay for vital services to everyone in Kirklees.

“It is important that it is paid on time, and I thank those who do. The council needs to treat all taxpayers fairly.

“My understanding is that the Labour councillors have had actions taken against them and they are now all up to date and have been asked to pay by Direct Debit.

“The council issued some 85,000 reminders in 2015/16 and 26,000 court summons to some of the 184,000 taxpayers.”

The other four councillors are Labour members Jean Calvert, Mohammed Sarwar and Amanda Pinnock, plus Conservative Donna Bellamy.

A sixth councillor, known only as “Cllr E”, was not named as he or she is no longer on the council.

Figures are for the last two financial years and were released after a Freedom of Information (FoI) request.

The six owed a total of £4,937.33, with Coun Bellamy sent a summons for just £27.74 in 2015/16.

Coun Sarwar, who represents Crosland Moor and Netherton, was in arrears by the biggest single sum of £1,186.16 in 2014/15.

It is believed all monies owed by the six, plus eight other councillors in arrears, have now been paid.

Sacked deputy council leader Coun Calvert was publicly outed in Labour bloodletting last week.

Having faced court in 2013 on the same issue, she was sent summonses for £843.79 in 2014/15 and £96 in 2015/16.

A further eight councillors were sent reminders in the last two years for being in arrears.

These include Dewsbury East Labour councillors Eric Firth and Coun Paul Kane for £110.85 and £96 respectively, both in 2014/15. Two of the eight, “Cllr C” and “Cllr K”, remain unnamed due to the small sums involved.

A third unnamed councillor, “Cllr L”, is no longer on the council but two other former members, Tony Brice, and Phil Scott, agreed to be identified.

The eighth is Coun Karen Allison (Green and Valley Independents).

Council senior legal officer Samantha Lawton explained why some councillors are unnamed in her response to the FoI request.

She wrote: “The names of councillors ‘L’ and ‘E’ have not been disclosed as these individuals are not currently elected councillors.

“I have balanced the interests of the individuals who are no longer councillors against the interest of the public in having access to this information and do not find it is in the public interest to reveal the names of the individuals.

“The names of councillors ‘C’ and ‘K’ have not been disclosed, as they have received either a single reminder or a very small number of reminders for non-payment of council tax, none of which taken together meant that they were more than two months in arrears with their respective tax payments and thus unable to fulfil their duties as a councillor.”

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