Wales

Hundreds of council tax arrears notices sent to councillors

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Hundreds of notices over unpaid council tax have been sent to councillors in the past six years, figures have shown.

Since 2011, nearly 400 reminders have been sent to councillors in arrears - some by more than £1,000.

Caerphilly council issued the most - 44 - leading to three court summons, but Wrexham, Rhondda Cynon Taff and Denbighshire sent none.

The WLGA has been asked to comment.

Reasons given for failing to pay included illness, family problems and forgetfulness.

When asked to respond, councils reminded the public and elected representatives of their duties to pay the tax.

Cardiff, Carmarthenshire and Gwynedd councils did not respond to the BBC's Freedom of Information request.

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North

Anglesey council issued 24 reminders, four final notices and one summons. A spokeswoman said both councillors and taxpayers had a responsibility to pay - but blamed oversights and "uncertainty" about payments for its elected members falling behind.

"Where these instances have arisen in the past, councillors have quickly responded to any reminder or arrears notice issued by the council and have cleared any arrears within an agreed timescale," a spokeswoman said.

Conwy council issued five notices to two councillors and Flintshire sent eight councillors a total of 19 letters and one court summons to a councillor who owed £1,022.

Flintshire's chief governance officer Gareth Owens said: "There are many reasons why people, including councillors, fall behind with council tax payments such as being on holiday or problems with their bank, and sometimes a payment will be made late when a reminder has already been triggered.

"The majority of reminders result in the account being brought swiftly brought back up to date.

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Mid

Ceredigion council sent 16 reminders and issued a summons after one councillor's debt reached £722 - though the authority said it coincided with family illness and the member has since set up a direct debit.

It said all the accounts were now up to date. Other reasons given by councillors included moving house and undergoing surgery.

Powys council issued 27 notices to six councillors.

Finance cabinet member Wynne Jones said: "Councillors, past or present, are not treated any differently to anyone else and they must ensure that their council tax payments are up to date.

"Failure to comply with this may result in a criminal prosecution and on summary conviction a member will be liable to a maximum fine of £1,000."

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South

Blaenau Gwent did not reveal how many notices were sent, but said one councillor received a summons and liability order.

Bridgend council issued three notices and summons to three councillors between April 2013 and November 2016 but did not provide earlier figures.

Pembrokeshire council has sent 17 notices to eight councillors since 2012.

Caerphilly council sent 44 reminders to councillors and issued three summons between January 2011 and November 2016.

A spokeswoman said: "We actively pursue instances where individuals are eligible to pay council tax and are in arrears, regardless of their occupation or any other personal details."

Since 2011, Merthyr Tydfil council has sent 10 reminders to one councillor and one to another member.

Monmouthshire only revealed data for 2015-16 and said four reminders were issued leading to one summons.

Three Neath Port Talbot councillors received final notices but then paid the full amount and a further councillor also received a summons and liability order before paying.

In Newport, 29 reminders were sent and two councillors received a summons. The council declined to comment on the figures.

Twenty seven notices were sent to three Swansea councillors and four liability orders issued to one member who was then banned from voting on financial matters.

Seven reminders and three summons were issued in Torfaen and six councillors received a total of 25 notices and two summons in Vale of Glamorgan. The council said all had since been paid in full.

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