Posted by: westlancashirerecord | February 1, 2018

Those Late Paying Councillors?

So West Lancashire Borough Council is a “Rotten Borough” according to Private Eye , as it reports that “Bradford city council and West Lancashire council were the worst for late council tax payments, each having to send reminders to 10 councillors. Bradford had to summons two to court and West Lancashire one. That councillor, Labour’s Terry Devine , was barred from voting”.

Cllr Devine is reported to have owed £1,058.55 which led to his being barred from voting. He sits for Moorside ward and has an excellent record of attendance at 90%, which compares well with others. 

Private Eye stated “Of course, some councillors have good reason for failing to pay up: some have spoken of serious illness or bereavement, family crises or the collapse of businesses. During the information gathering process, some councils contacted the affected councillors and gave them a right of reply as part of the response to us. Some elected members were at pains to explain their unique predicaments. People are not heartless – they would arguably forgive those affected by such trying circumstances, but very few councillors proactively “confess” to the electorate about financial faux pas until someone asks difficult questions.

“To ward off hypocrisy, the Local Government Finance Act forbids councillors from voting on the council’s budget – and determining the council tax – if they themselves have missed payments for two consecutive months and have not taken action to remedy the problem. The act states that such councillors either have to stay away from the meetings or, if they want to show up, they must stand up before their peers and explain why they cannot vote. Failure to take those steps is a criminal offence and can result in a maximum fine of £1,000 at a magistrates’ court”. 


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