Former leader’s anger at fellow councillor who failed to pay tax bill

Blackpool Town Hall
Blackpool Town Hall
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A Blackpool councillor was taken to court and barred from voting at a key budget meeting after failing to pay their council tax, it has been revealed.

The councillor, who has not been named, was one of nine who received reminders to pay their council tax, and one of three who received a court summons.

Coun Peter Callow, a former leader of the council, said it would anger residents to learn some councillors were not paying their community charge on time.

He told a full meeting of the council: “There are people in this town, pensioners and people on low incomes, who are struggling to pay their council tax and here it would appear we have councillors who are not paying their council tax, who are missing payments and that can’t be allowed to happen.”

He added: “If councillors don’t pay their council tax, this is a major problem.

“We have all had hard times in our lives but you pay your debts first.”

The details were revealed as the result of a Freedom of Information request made by a member of the public in relation to council tax payments for the last financial year 2015/16.

Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said the councillor taken to court had now fully paid up their council tax.

However they had been barred from voting at the budget meeting held in February this year.

He said: “One case went to court, that councillor is now fully paid up.

“Councillors are human beings. They are representative of the population at large.

“Councillors have personal problems which neither you nor I, nor the person who submitted the Freedom of Information request, can possibly be privy to.

“They make mistakes, they have problems with their banks, they have relationship issues, they have financial issues.”

He added: “The only rule is if they are not up to date with their council tax, they cannot vote at budget council.

“That was the case with one member. They weren’t allowed to vote at budget council.

“They are now fully paid up.”