Western Isles councillor sorry for council tax arrears

Image caption, Councillor MacNeil said he is repaying the money

One of more than 30 councillors across Scotland found to have historic council tax debts has issued an apology.

Western Isles councillor Iain A MacNeil had arrears of £14,446 for two properties, according to research by BBC Scotland.

In a statement, he said he wished to apologise to his constituents, fellow councillors and wider islands community.

He said he has made arrangements to pay the arrears in full.

Mr MacNeil is a member of Western isles Council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

'Unfortunate circumstances'

He said: "First of all I apologise to my constituents, my fellow councillors and the wider community of the Western Isles for allowing my council tax arrears to build up to this extent.

"Over the years a number of unfortunate circumstances have arisen that have been very difficult for me and my family and have contributed to this situation.

"However, I fully appreciate that this is not a legitimate excuse.

"I am committed to paying the arrears in full and have arranged for deductions to be made from my comhairle salary."

More than 30 councillors across Scotland have historic council tax debts, according to the research.

Some of the local representatives owe their councils several thousand pounds, and the debts have built up to a total of more than £140,000.

The authorities concerned said they were aware of the debts, and the councillors were paying them off.

BBC Scotland submitted freedom of information requests to all 32 of Scotland's local authorities, asking if any serving councillors had council tax arrears.

A total of 32 councillors in 13 council areas had debts - in six council areas, more than one councillor had debts.

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