Hundreds of council tax arrears notices sent out – to Welsh councillors

Whatever happened to leadership by example?

It seems our councillors are happy to vote our council tax bills up into the stratosphere but are less keen to pay up themselves.

Their reasons for non-payment make a mockery of the system – none of them are valid. I mean… “Forgetfulness”?

It’s a shame we don’t have a breakdown of late- or non-payers by political party.

Fortunately, 2017 is an election year and those of you who live in Wales have a chance to vote out this dead weight.

Remember, nothing ever changed for the better by being allowed to stay the way it was.

FOR CLARITY: A reader who is a councillor in Wales has pointed out that the majority of councillors are honest and community minded, hardworking people who should not be tarnished by the actions of a tiny minority.

Hundreds of notices over unpaid council tax have been sent to councillors in the past six years, figures have shown.

Since 2011, nearly 400 reminders have been sent to councillors in arrears – some by more than £1,000.

Reasons given for failing to pay included illness, family problems and forgetfulness.

Source: Hundreds of council tax arrears notices sent to councillors – BBC News

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11 thoughts on “Hundreds of council tax arrears notices sent out – to Welsh councillors

  1. Neilth

    This is lazy reporting. I’m a Councillor and like most people I have set up a direct debit on my account so pay automatically. The generalisation in this report means I have to defend myself from a false accusation before I can engage with my ward residents on the issues. I am up for election in May and these scattergun reports damage the innocent.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Perhaps councillors should demonstrate that they pay their taxes like everybody else, if some of them can’t be law-abiding boys and girls?

  2. Dez

    Some of those excuses suggest that many are well past their sell by date and certainly should not be representing the voting public….perhaps they think they
    are MPs and can ignore the electorate once they have the votes on board. Disgraceful example to normal electorate who pay their tax on time.

  3. Neilth

    As evidenced by the other above comments your blunt edged weapon of a massive generalisation implying that all councillors are failing to meet their obligations is now spinning into implied general corruption. I take personal offence at this and the snide reply to my previous comment. I am scrupulous in maintaining honesty and straightforwardness in all I do in public office and I believe that those who fall short of this should be exposed. However in my experience the numbers tend to be small and dishonesty or corruption tends to be amongst a few wealthy landowning councillors who seek to bend planning decisions to their benefit.

    The figures you quote of less than four hundred notices out of many thausand councillors over a six year period is an example of fake news. There is no detail of whether this might represent multiple notices to a few councillors nor whether the situation was rectified in how many cases. The notices in themselves are not necessarily indicative of wrong doing, it is possible that in some cases honest mistakes were made, also we all know that in some cases withholding payment of council tax is occasionally used as a form of protest against some policy or decision and, whether you agree with this or no, is seen as a ‘legitimate’ tactic.

    Demonstrate that you pay your taxes Mike as you suggest councillors should do. Other than my word and that my name does not appear on any list of non payers I’m not sure how (or why) I should ‘prove’ I pay. You are using innuendo to tar all, innocent and guilty, with the same brush and damaging allies far more than enemies as those of us who are working hard and honestly for our communities and for our common aims can do without the kind of contempt and allegations that ultimately lead some in the community to view elected representatives as venal. Such attitudes lead earlier this year to a deranged terrorist thinking it was acceptable to murder a fine and selfless woman.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Your objection seems to be that I referred to “councillors” rather than “some councillors”. Note that I didn’t refer to “all councillors”!
      I wasn’t implying that all councillors are failing to meet their obligations – you inferred it, and any offence you take from that is your business, not mine.
      I am glad that you are scrupulous in your own dealings. But I wonder why you are defending those who are not.
      Clearly, some councillors do not come up to your standards, but instead of demanding that higher standard from your colleagues, you are attacking me. Why aren’t you questioning their behaviour?
      It isn’t fake news to point out that councillors aren’t paying their council tax when councillors have been proven not to be paying their council tax. And if forgetfulness is an honest mistake, then one has to question that person’s fitness to be a councillor! How are they going to handle their constituents’ affairs if they can’t even manage their own?
      There is no call for me to demonstrate I pay my taxes in this instance. The question is whether people who are members of a tax-levying authority are actually paying up themselves, therefore any such demonstration by myself would be irrelevant to the debate.
      Perhaps it would be useful for local authorities to publish lists of non-paying councillors so the voters can judge for themselves.
      Finally, your attempt to include the murder of Jo Cox in a discussion about non-payment of council tax is nothing short of outrageous; utterly irresponsible.
      Come on – you’re better than this.

      1. Neilth

        Firstly the Jo Cox reference. You know from previous discussion that I’m of the view that denigrating people who stand for elected office by implying that they are corrupt and self serving rather than wanting genuinely to improve their communities is rampant and a constant theme of the far right who want to see less democratic involvement and ‘smaller’ government. This has resulted in the populist view that gets people like Trump or Farage in the public eye and legitimises their ‘drain the swamp’ mantra. It allows them to promulgate all sorts of fiction as truths and leads to the kind of ignorant or unthinking hostility which ended Jo’s life. That fascist moron was a product of the constant stream of anti democratic propaganda from the Daily Heil brigade et al as were the myths about ‘unelected’ control of the EU and again the implied or even explicit allegations of corruption when in fact we now learn that it was Farage and co who were making those allegations who are now being investigated for alleged misuse of EU money.

        Secondly my suggestion that you demonstrate your tax probity was to illustrate that that is actually quite difficult.

        Thirdly, I don’t believe I have defended the unscrupulous. In fact I point out that some are corrupt and cite an example ie planning matters. I agree that they should be removed as unfit for office and if appropriate prosecuted.

        My argument with you is that in the original article you have not clarified that the majority of councillors are honest and community minded, hardworking people who should not be tarnished by the actions of a tiny minority.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        All right. There’s room for compromise here.
        I don’t accept your argument about your invocation of Jo Cox. No councillor’s life is in danger because of non-payment of council tax and I hope that you will accept it is hugely exaggerating the situation to suggest that this might happen.
        That being said, I don’t mind putting a clarification in the article along the lines you suggest – in the interests of balance.

      3. Neilth

        Thank you for the adjustment. Some of my colleagues are nervous of doing our weekly surgeries following Jo’s murder though. It did upset us all.

  4. wildswimmerpete

    Councils are notorious for serving summonses to someone late with a payment of a few pounds, in my case a summons with added “costs” of £50 over a late payment of £6. It took the intervention of my MP to put a stop that nonsense. It costs a council about £4.50 to lay an information at the Magistrates Court. Councils then issue summonses with added “costs” from £50 to well over £100 – “costs” that are in fact yet another revenue stream. It is actually illegal to use the judicial system to raise revenue from “fines” or bloated “costs”.

    What worries me is that those on benefits such as JSA recently became liable to paying Council Tax*. Firstly, the amount of JSA is supposed to cover subsistence, not enough to pay any added tax. Secondly, as many claimants won’t be able pay the CT demanded so they’ll be hit by summonses with all those illegally inflated “costs” added. Next stop: the Magistrate’s Court and liability order followed by the bailiff’s knock on the door. I understand that the vast bulk of liability orders are in fact imposed on those on means-tested benefits. Bear in mind that prison is always an option although to be fair Magistrates are loath to commit unless it’s a blatant case of “Can pay, won’t pay”.

    *When Thatcher introduced her Poll Tax those on benefits had enough added to their Supplementary Benefit to pay their Poll Tax. Problem was, the extra money ended up being spent on other things.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You make good points about people without the wherewithal to pay.
      This only makes councillors’ non-payment stranger. They would know the steps their authority takes to recover the money, so why risk incurring them?

Comments are closed.