Parish councils criticised for not returning accounts

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SIX parish councils in Yorkshire have been rapped for failing to return their accounts.

The District Auditor has published “public interest” reports on Atwick, Bewholme, Bishop Burton, Burton Pidsea, Skipsea and Welton parish councils.

The reports say the councils “failed to account to council taxpayers for the use and safeguarding of their money” by not producing an annual return for the financial year to March 31.

District Auditor Jackie Bellard said: “People have the right to know how their local taxes have been used by their councils. Despite my repeated requests, these councils have failed to submit their annual returns.

“This should not happen again.”

The councils must now consider the reports in public within a month.

Anne Padgett, clerk for five of the councils, bar Burton Pidsea, said she had had personal problems. She said she had promised the reports would be in by October 14, adding: “I am just waiting for the final paperwork to come back from the internal auditor. I did ring up and explain this to the Audit Commission.”

Clerk to Burton Pidsea Parish Council Ann Bentley said she had sent the report in May and council minutes could show it had been audited.

It appeared to have gone missing in the post and the first she knew about it was September. She added: “I scanned a copy of the report and sent it with all the bank statements. They have accepted they now have it.”