Chron puts in FoI to name Northampton Borough councillors who failed to pay Council Tax

The Chronicle & Echo has put in a Freedom of Information request to name the Northampton Borough Councillors who failed to pay their council tax.

Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 10:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 10:17 pm
The Guildhall, Northampton Borough Council
The Guildhall, Northampton Borough Council

Private Eye submitted FoI requests to 377 councils across the UK to find out which councillors had failed to pay their tax in the 2015/16 year.

In Northampton, seven of the 45 borough councillors had to be sent reminders to pay their council tax last year. Further inquiries by the Chron revealed three still owe some of the money.

The borough council has refused to name them saying "it would not be appropriate". The Chron has now put in a further FoI to request the names.

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A spokeswoman for the borough, said: “During the 2015/16 tax year, reminder letters for missing council tax payments were issued to seven Northampton borough councillors.

“Four councillors have settled their account in full. Three remain in arrears for that year but are meeting the payment plan agreed to clear the outstanding money.”

The council said it was not able to name the councillors who owed money,

The spokeswoman said: “Since the council tax arrears are being paid on the agreed basis by the councillors involved, it would not be appropriate to name them.”

However a similar Freedom of Information (FOI) request to name the offending councillors by one of the Chron’s sister papers, the Yorkshire Post, was recently successful. As a result an FOI has been lodged by the Chron with the borough council.

In Kettering, the borough council had to send out three reminders, and one councillor even had to be taken to court. Conservative Karl Sumpter owed £1,483.73 and was made to clear his arrears at court.

As he has now paid his dues he was not barred from voting during the budget-setting period.

Chron readers were incensed that elected councillors could be behind on payments to their own authority, with many calling for the seven to be named.

David Benedict Kiley, said: “Somebody, please refer them to the chapter in the governance handbook dealing with ‘Leadership by Example’.”

And David Cerezo added: “They should be suspended without pay as it is against the good standing of being in the council. It is unethical.”

Darren Amos, added: “Surely they should be instantly debarred from being a councillor?”