Councilors who have not paid council tax on time will not be named | United Kingdom | New

Only one of the five councilors has been appointed (Image: Echo of the North)

Five London councilors from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea failed to pay Council Taxes on time between January 2018 and January 2021. Only one of the five councilors was appointed, reports My London.

The council declined to reveal the names of the five councilors after a freedom of information request from the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) in 2021 found they owed a combined total of £6,960.04.

The authority claimed the missed payments were personal information that should not be disclosed – although other authorities have appointed advisers in response to similar freedom of information requests.

The highest amount of council tax owed by an individual councilor was £4,187.29, according to the council’s own FOI response, followed by £1,654.66, £799.43, £172.00 and £146.00.

The LDRS understands that councilors who have not paid taxes come from a mix of political parties.

Bailiffs were instructed to contact an adviser, the council’s response to FOI said, but all members have since paid off their debts.

Two of the councilors who failed to pay council tax on time between 2018 and 2021 have been summoned to court, but the information watchdog still decided not to name them.

A local authority can take legal action to require a resident to pay council tax by asking a magistrate for a liability order.

A council may also charge a resident for the legal costs of hiring a solicitor.

There is a maximum prison sentence of three months for refusing to pay council tax without a valid reason.

Only one of the RBKC advisers who failed to make his payments on time has now been named following a ruling by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which was set up to improve oversight of public bodies.

The ICO decided that four advisers should not be appointed after an appeal by the LDRS.

The watchdog said a member, only dubbed ‘Cllr 5’ in the documents, should not be named after the council allegedly provided evidence of ‘exceptional extenuating circumstances’.

The ICO decision continued: “I am convinced that their name should be protected…disclosure of the name could lead to the individual and/or their family being the subject of harm and distress. considerable extras.”

The document also states that ‘Cllr 1’ and ‘Cllr 3’ will not be named as neither of them received a court summons for failing to pay council tax on time.

Councilors who are more than two months in arrears with municipal taxes may be barred from voting on council budget matters.

The ICO report states that this does not apply to these two members as they paid what they owed within the two month period.

He adds: “They paid the full council tax after receiving a reminder notice.”

The LDRS also found “Cllr 2”, owed £4,187.29 between 2018 and 2020.

The ICO has decided that they will not be nominated as they are no longer elected.

Conservative Councilor Dori Schmetterling has agreed to be named as one of the members who failed to pay council tax on time.

Cllr Schmetterling received a notice on January 2, 2020 reminding him to pay £179 for the 2019 tax year, the ICO ruling said.

He then made the payment on January 15, just 13 days later.

He was never summoned to court.

Cllr Schmetterling, who represents the Pembridge borough, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he cannot recall why he did not make the payment on time, but assumes there may have been an administrative problem.

He added: “Why are you wasting your time on this? Frankly, I’m sure there’s more fish to fry than finding out why someone hasn’t paid for a month or two.

“I don’t remember why I didn’t pay for a month or two. I don’t remember.”

A Kensington and Chelsea spokesperson previously told the LDRS: “We are pursuing the non-payment of all of our residents, regardless of their role.

“It has been a financially difficult time for many during the pandemic and we have implemented a council tax reduction programme.

‘If residents are concerned about paying council tax, they should contact the council to discuss their situation.’

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