Stoke-on-Trent councillors summonsed over unpaid tax

Image source, Stoke-on-Trent City Council
Image caption,
Jane Ashworth and Dave Evans have since paid what they owed

Two city councillors were summonsed to appear in court after missing their council tax payments.

The members were Dave Evans, who holds a cabinet post on Tory-led Stoke-on-Trent City Council, and Jane Ashworth, leader of the Labour opposition group.

The pair owed more than £2,000 between them.

They each paid their debts before matters reached court, and their summons were cancelled.

A Local Democracy Reporting Service investigation found Mr Evans owed £875 in council tax in the 2019/20 financial year and a further £140.45 for 2020/21.

Ms Ashworth owed £1,166.69 in council tax for 2020/21.

The opposition group leader, who represents Burslem, said a direct debit oversight was the cause and apologised to residents.

"I had paid the previous year's bill in full and believed I had a direct debit in place," she said.

"It turned out that was not the case. It was my fault and I am deeply embarrassed by it."

Mr Evans, who is cabinet member for children and young people and represents the Baddeley, Milton and Norton ward, said his issue arose from a relationship breakdown and identity theft.

He said: "Both [matters] have had a direct impact on my finances.

"I am sorry that I fell behind in paying my council tax. As soon as it was brought to my attention, I ensured all monies owed were paid promptly."

The local authority has been contacted for comment.

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