A YORKSHIRE council leader who received almost £50,000 in allowances is among at least 28 councillors across the region issued with a court summons for non-payment of council tax over the last two years.
At least a further 70 more have been issued with either reminders or final notices for late payment including one whose arrears meant they were barred by law from taking part in a key council budget meeting.
David Green was issued with a summons for non-payment of £1,169.57 in council tax in 2014/15 while at the same time receiving £49,830.35 in allowances as Bradford Council leader. Coun Green, who was replaced as Labour leader after this year’s local elections, was one of eight members of the same authority sent a summons over the last two years.
Five Kirkees councillors were also issued with a summons over the same period plus three at East Riding Council and at Hull, two at Scarborough and North East Lincolnshire Council plus one councillor at each of Rotherham, Craven, Richmondshire, Doncaster and North Lincolnshire councils. The councillors were drawn from across the political spectrum.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance, which campaigns on public spending, said residents would be “shocked” to see so many councillors had run-up arrears.
The totals are almost certain to be even higher as two of the region’s biggest authorities - Leeds and Sheffield - refused to provide any information in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
While most councils across Yorkshire and the Humber provided either full details or a significant amount of information in response to the FOI request, Leeds claimed it would take too long to locate the information despite other large authorities, like neighbouring Bradford, having no problem doing so.
Leeds was also provided with a list of more than 170 addresses councillors had an interest in - published on its own website - in a bid to help the authority respond but the council still claimed it could not complete the process within the 18-hour time limit.
Sheffield Council insisted the information was private and even refused to provide details of a councillor it did acknowledge had been unable to take part in the annual budget meeting because they were more than two months in arrears.
Coun Green said he didn’t recall receiving a summons but did acknowledge he had got into arrears.
“There were a number of personal circumstances at that time that led to the situation where I failed to make payments which I resolved as soon as I was made aware of the arrears and have since set up a direct debit to pay regularly,” he said.