Beverley Town Council found to have not paid gas bill - for 17 years

For those worrying about fuel bills, spare a thought for Beverley Town Council which faces a hefty tab after discovering they haven't paid a bill for 17 years.

It is not known how much Beverley Town Council will have to pay back after the error was discovered in mid-November.

The omission came to light after a gas engineer was called to the town council's offices in Well Lane, in the town, to fix a gas boiler.

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Beverley Town Council faces a hefty gas bill after discovering they haven't paid theirs for years Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Staff were told the gas could be contaminated and they needed to contact the supplier - however the acting town clerk then found out they didn't have one.

Town councillor Denis Healy, who chairs the personnel committee, said an investigation was underway.

He said: "The boiler broke down and the acting clerk who has not been doing the job very long called an engineer.

"The engineer said there was a problem with the gas coming in, it was contaminated and in the meantime he was going to shut the boiler down.

Councillor Denis Healy

"The acting clerk couldn't find a gas supplier or any bills."

He said gas distribution company Northern Gas Networks had confirmed there had never been a registered gas supply and they were legally entitled to recover the money.

They would use standard rates as provided by the regulator Ofgem to work out how much was owed since 2004.

Coun Healy said they'd appointed Coun David Tucker, who's also on the town council, to get to the bottom of what had happened and he'd be producing a written report by the end of the month.

Coun Healy said he was "just completely shocked" that it had not been picked up for such a long time.

While the size of the bill was a concern, it could be reduced if a cap is applied, he said, but added that the cost was only part of the issue.

He said: "What concerns me is that this council has been procuring gas for 17 years without paying for it and that's a serious issue.

"We need to take whatever actions that are appropriate. The people of Beverley will quite rightly be asking questions."