Councillors received court summons

Who are they? The East Riding Council are refusing to name members who were summoned to court for not paying council tax

Who are they? The East Riding Council are refusing to name members who were summoned to court for not paying council tax

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At least five East Riding councillors were summoned to court or received reminders for not paying council tax on time, the Bridlington Free Press can reveal.

Between 2011 and last year, 19 reminders were sent to councillors because they hadn’t paid their council tax on time, according to a Freedom of Information Act request.

County Hall at Beverley... the Taxpayers' Alliance said those who received summons should "own up"

County Hall at Beverley... the Taxpayers' Alliance said those who received summons should "own up"

And during that time, nine court summons were issued to locally elected politicians who had already received reminder notices.

All court hearings are held in public – but the council won’t reveal any names, using Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act to censor the identities.

It means the actual number who haven’t paid on time can’t be revealed, because any one individual could have failed to pay more than once over the period.

The findings have prompted an appeal by the TaxPayers’ Alliance to those councillors who were issued summons.

Harry Davis, Campaign Manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Local taxpayers have every right to be angry that their money is being spent pursuing elected representatives who haven’t paid on time.

“Some may be in financial difficulty, in which case they should have the help and support afforded to others, but others should be leading by example and those who have failed to pay what’s due ought to have the guts to own up.

“This episode reveals a contempt for transparency and accountability at the heart of local government.”

While no councillors were issued reminders for non-payment in 2016, five were sent reminders last year and one was summoned to court.

• In both 2014 and 2013, three received reminders and two received court summons.

• In 2012 four received reminders and two were summoned.

• In 2011 four received reminders – two were summoned to court.

No-one from the East Riding of Yorkshire Council was willing to comment on the findings.

It comes after a newspaper in Bolton succeeded in a three-year legal battle against Bolton Council to name one councillor summoned to court for not paying his council tax.