Councillor tax debt could lead to vote ban

Councillor Steve Jones
Councillor Steve Jones

A Wigan councillor could be barred from voting in the 2018 budget meeting uf he does not catch up with missed council tax payments.

The town hall has revealed that Bryn councillor Steve Jones will not be allowed to vote in the meeting, which takes place in February.

The independent councillor is in the firing line for the second time in the past few months after receiving a drink driving ban back in November.

Town hall bosses have previously said that elected members are treated no differently to the public when it comes to missing payments.

Paul McKevitt, Wigan Council’s deputy chief executive, said: “The council tax we collect helps fund essential services for our residents and we are committed to collecting all that is owed to the council in full.

“Councillors are treated no differently to ordinary members of the public and if there are cases of non-payment the council will take action to ensure the amounts owed are repaid.

“If people are experiencing financial difficulties, they can contact us to arrange a re-payment plan.”

Last year seven borough representatives were named and shamed after a Freedom of Information Request revealed that they were on a list of elected members warned about late council tax payments.

Four of the seven; Labour Couns Keir Stitt and Jim Talbot and former independent councillor Robert Bleakley and as well as Standish independent

Gareth Fairhurst received court summonses but managed to resolve these before appearing in court.

The Local Government Finance Act restricts councillors who have not paid their council tax to vote on their council’s annual budget.

Donna Hall, chief executive of Wigan Council said: “Unfortunately, the councillor in question will not be able to vote at the council tax setting meeting if he remains in arrears.”